How big is quarterback Jimmy Clausen's recent commitment to Notre Dame? It's A-Rod to the Yankees, T.O. to the Cowboys and Shaq to the Heat. It's the Great One to the L.A. Kings, Tiger winning the Masters and Hagler-Hearns. In the college football recruiting world, this is as big as it gets.
When's the last time the nation's most hyped quarterback in years committed to the nation's biggest and most recognizable football program? When was the last time a high school football player committed, and it was mentioned on SportsCenter as a big deal? Who else has had numerous national television features done on him before he even threw a pass his senior year? The LeBron James of high school football, that's who.
Personally, I think the LeBron James comment is a bit ridiculous, apologies to quarterback guru Steve Clarkson. Comparing a high school basketball player who jumped to the NBA and became an instant All-Star to a high school quarterback who would likely be put in traction right now under center in the NFL is a bit much. But there's little doubt that Clausen's every move will be watched with great interest by Notre Dame-lovers and -haters.
Ron Powlus was quite built up (thanks, Beano Cook) back in 1993 having been penciled in for two Heismans, so it has been 13 years since something similar to this has occurred. But back then there was no Internet recruiting coverage, television coverage wasn't nearly what it is today in regards to college football, and the legends of quarterbacks back in '93 sometimes exceeded their talent. In '93, only the coaches had film, and virtually no one got to see Powlus play before he hit Notre Dame. If one person said he was great, who were we to question?
Nowadays, if you haven't seen Clausen throw a pass and you're a huge college football fan, then we have to assume you're out of the country or serving time. Most hyped ever? Easily so.
What Clausen's commitment does for Notre Dame is obvious. It puts the marquee football program back on center stage and numerous blue-chip recruits will eventually follow Clausen to South Bend. It improves Notre Dame's chances of winning a national title even if Clausen never throws another pass. Clausen's commitment enhances Charlie Weis' reputation as a great recruiter and coach, and it leaves many scratching their heads at what Ty Willingham and Bob Davie were doing. Basically, it puts Notre Dame football where it expects to be — on the lips of every college football fan.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
With great expectations comes great responsibility, and Clausen will certainly have his share of each. Whether he can live up to the former while handling the latter will be determined soon enough.
In the meantime, the echoes are waking in South Bend. Notre Dame is back amongst the elite in college football recruiting — the way it should be.
Lingering questions were answered emphatically by the 2012 team, but 2013 is an all-new season that brings all-new question marks. Brian Kelly feels fairly confident his offense is in a great position to take a step forward, but to do that, they’ll need the services of some under-the-radar players.
Notre Dame's 2012 season
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2012 Notre Dame opponents
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