Snapshot: Kyle Clement

As we do every year at this time, presents its Snapshot series of features on the Steelers' rookies. Today: Kyle Clement.

At 6-3, 315 pounds, Kyle Clement is an imposing figure, even on the football field.

Just imagine how Clement looks when he's out partaking in his other hobby, golf.

The rookie defensive end, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent, loves football. But he also loves golf, something that makes for an interesting mix.

In the football world, it's usually the quarterbacks and other so-called "skill players" who are the golfers. Linemen are usually more into fishing, hunting and other such manly endeavors.

But Clement, a banking and finance major in college, is a thinking man's defensive lineman.

"Golf is my thing if I could afford to," Clement said. "I'm about an eight handicap. That's not bad for as much as I get out. I just try to keep the ball straight."

As you can imagine, he's a big hitter, much like he is on the football field.

"I put it out there 330, but it's usually in somebody else's fairway. I've got to straighten it out," said Clement, who did 37 repetitions of 225 pounds at his personal workout for scouts, with a laugh.

Perhaps if he wins a spot on the Steelers' roster, Clement will be able to play golf a little more often – at least when he's not taking on opposing offensive linemen. Clement is pretty good at that, too.

A four-year starter for Northwood College, an NCAA Division II school in Michigan, Clement earned All-GLIAC honors three times in his career, including first team All-Conference honors twice. As a senior, Clement tied for fourth in the GLIAC with 13.5 tackles for loss. He had 43 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a senior along with three blocked kicks, despite drawing constant double teams. For his career, Clement finished with 50.5 tackles for loss and 25.5 sacks.

He then had a tremendous effort in the Valero Cactus Bowl – the Division II all-star game – where he finished with six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

If you dare to question those numbers, check out the highlight tape his agent put together and posted on Youtube prior to the NFL draft. Clement looks like an unblockable force, something you'd expect for an NFL prospect playing Division II football.

Unlike players from bigger schools who attend their chosen university with a constant eye on the NFL, Clement didn't start thinking about having a shot until his senior season. And even then, he knew things would be difficult, even though he is the third Northwood player in the last four seasons to sign a free agent contract following his playing career.

Linebacker Dedrick Roper has spent time with Steelers, Rams and Eagles in 2005 and 2006, while Defensive end Chris Wilson spent last season with Washington, recording 13 tackles and four sacks.

"I've known that I have to work hard if I'm going to get a shot," Clement said. "There are very few guys from small schools who get the shot, so I know that I have to work harder than everyone else if I want to make the team."

With that in mind, Clement approached Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith – himself a former Division II player – for some extra help during the team's offseason training sessions. Smith was only too happy to oblige and the two spent time after practices working on hand placement and gaining leverage.

"You can't do any better than to learn from Aaron Smith," said Clement. "It helps tremendously with all of the intangible stuff that you don't get taught in the classroom. You never get a chance to work with a Pro Bowler like that. It helps a lot."

And that was one of the main reason Clement spurned offers from other teams to sign with the Steelers, who made signing him a priority after the draft. Clement knew the Steelers had an older defensive line – one they didn't add to in the draft.

"Part of it was that I knew they had an older team," Clement said. "That was an ideal position for me because I knew that they had guys I could learn from. And they're not afraid to teach me and help me out as opposed to coming in with younger guys who you are competing with. That was the biggest thing and knowing that there are spots open."

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

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