First of all, I'd like to thank McCutcheon HS Freshman Football coach, Jeff Knoy, for the complimentary ticket to this contest. I believe Jeff is one of many Boilers who Clayton sees at his football games. I saw plenty of folks wearing Purdue stuff in the stands, and plenty of Purdue license plates in the stadium parking lot.
I got there early and was able to catch Clayton warming up. It does not take one long to figure out which player Clayton is for the Mavs. He is the legit 6-5, 220 lb hoss wearing #3. The young man look mature beyond his years and his teammates clearly demonstrated that he is their de facto leader.
Ironically, while I was filming Clayton in pre-game warmups, his dad Barry came up to me unannounced to ask who I was filming and who I represented. He could tell I was a Boiler since I was wearing my 2001 Vegas Gold Iron Pride shirt. Of course, I told him I was watching Clayton and he flashed a big smile and said "I'm Clayton's father, it is nice to meet you". While I wanted to give him my pitch on why Clayton should come to Purdue, I resisted for a number of obvious reasons.
Barry was a very cordial, proud father, as one might expect. He said that Clayton and he were impressed with the quality of the people from all schools who are recruiting #3 right now. Barry mentioned that he has been in Lafayette, IND all his life and he would love to see Clayton stay home. He talked glowingly about Clayton tossing balls around at Purdue with Drew Brees and felt that Clayton held his own with #15. I was concerned to hear a few comparisons to Drew Henson also but they were mostly in the context of playing pro baseball in the summer months and playing college football through spring ball otherwise. I can't remember if it was Barry or Jeff Knoy who mentioned that the Michigan coaches have gotten fairly close to Clayton's sister, who also either attends or works at McCutcheon (I can't recall every detail exactly). In our favor, Jake Cunningham's father called up Barry Richard the day Jake verballed to guage Clayton's interest in Purdue. Barry assured Mr. Cunningham that Clayton was seriously considering Purdue.
I told Barry about our FREE Purdue site and he was fired up to hear about some FREE info about Clayton's recruitment and season. He said he's a little turned off by all the pay sites. Barry wrapped up our short chat by saying I could look him up in the phone book and call him any time. That is something I WON'T be doing but he is more than welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As far as my take on Clayton's skills after watching the game and studying my tape...I'd very much like to see #3 in a Purdue Uniform! I'd venture to say he did not have his best game of his career but he made some VERY impressive throws and some nice QB runs also. Fortunately, his team put the ball in the air quite a bit against Merrillville (a solid team in a higher class than McCutcheon). Clayton has a tremendous arm and can launch a soft touch fade pattern 45 yards in the air with ease. He is a southpaw for those who did not know and he and his Ball St. verbal, 6-3 WR, Kelly Martin, took advantage of Merriville's short DB's for I think 2 stellar corner fade patterns for TD's before halftime. His final numbers were...13 of 29 for 223 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a 12 yd TD run and another 35 yd plus designed sneak up the middle.
At first I thought I detected a slight hitch in Clayton's release but after further analysis I don't see a major problem with it at all. Clayton did overthrow a couple longer patterns early on but seemed to get that connection down pat later in the game. He threw a number of out patterns right on the numbers. In sum, I'm convinced of 3 things in regards to Richard:
1) He's already extremely well built to be a college QB and he has tremendous pocket presence. Amazingly, Clayton has his own workout program, no trainers have helped him develop physically. 2) I think he has great touch on this throws, and he could've used a couple of faster WR's like Ray Williams, or Jake Cunningham running under a couple of his longer patterns. 3) His decision is very much in the air and it will be a dogfight until the end.
p.s. I hope to have some or all of my video footage up on this site sometime soon.
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