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Clausen skipping senior season for NFL

Dec 7, 2009, 12:19 PM EDT

ESPN is reporting that Jimmy Clausen is leaving Notre Dame and entering the NFL draft. It’s a decision that isn’t exactly shocking, but still quite a disappointment for Notre Dame fans that were hoping their star signal caller would return for his senior season and final year of eligibility.

“After the season, in talking to my parents and obviously Coach Weis, I just feel it’s the right time,” Clausen told ESPN. “Coach Weis told me whether he was going to be here or not be here, it was time for me to go. He thought I’ve improved so much since I came to Notre Dame. So, I’m taking his advice, and I’m going to head out.”

Clausen will hold a press conference today in South Bend at 2 p.m. where the decision will be made official.

I can’t help but think back to our official introduction to Jimmy Clausen, which has haunted Jimmy since arriving in South Bend. Arriving in a stretch Hummer limousine to the College Football Hall of Fame and posing for a few highly regrettable pictures flashing small-school California championship rings, Clausen did much more to hurt his public persona than Weis ever did. Yet the statements made at the press conference were hardly inflammatory. (Take a look, here.)

The question many of us will now debate is the lasting legacy of Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame. I don’t fault him for bolting to the NFL, especially after watching his two older brothers fail to make it after signing with elite college football programs, and after watching Sam Bradford’s nightmare senior season unfold this year. But still, it’s hard to make an argument for Clausen as one of Notre Dame’s best quarterbacks regardless of the singular nature of his statistics this season.

Jimmy’s final season at Notre Dame should go down in school history as one of the greatest individual performances in Irish history. Yet Clausen’s legacy will now be that of an individual, a talented quarterback that made steady progress through three seasons of mediocre football. It’s not Clausen’s fault that he was dogged by two of the worst offensive lines in the history of Notre Dame football during his freshman and sophomore seasons. But Clausen exiting early means he doesn’t deserve the adulation of his predecessor Brady Quinn, or even lesser skilled quarterbacks like Jarious Jackson, who left Notre Dame with single-season records for passing yards and completions in a far different system in 1999.

In the end, Jimmy Clausen can be looked at like a lot of other Notre Dame students. He chose the very best college that would help him achieve his goals. Jimmy didn’t want to be a lawyer, didn’t want to get into high finance or real estate. He wanted to be an NFL quarterback. He chose the best coach at the best school that he thought would prepare him for life after college. Leaving now means he’ll never be hailed as a legend, but he should be remembered for being a damn good quarterback, who had a magical final season.

  1. Brendan McA - Dec 7, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    Like you said last week pertaining to Justin Tuck, I’m upset at Clausen for not giving us that final season, where he’d have potentially been the big difference maker…
    Then again if we get Brian Kelly, it won’t matter who’s under center now will it? =]

  2. bak - Dec 7, 2009 at 1:55 PM

    I can’t help but feel that Clausen would be much better served by staying for a 4th year of college (even if it isn’t ND – yes even if that meant sitting out a year to play at another school). He is a very good college QB but I question whether he is ready for the pro game at this point.

  3. robertg - Dec 7, 2009 at 2:42 PM

    1. as we predicted, both clausen and tate are gone, with many others to follow.
    2. why should anyone stay at notre dame and be subjected to yet more seasons of torture and vilification by media shills aided and abetted by jack swarbrick, father jenkins, and certain other brain dead morons now in the notre dame administration?
    3. there are plenty of other schools at which student athletes can get fine educations and get their best shots at the nfl without having to go through what jack swarbrick, father jenkins, and the other brain dead morons at the notre dame administration put them and their coaches through.
    4. should any of them wait around for jack swarbrick’s brilliant new head coach? no, they have already been coached by the best- charlie weis and his staff.
    5. we have always loved what notre dame stood for and will live our lives guided by those core values which, unfortunately, no longer reside at notre dame.
    6. there would still be no shame if jack swarbrick and father jenkins spoke out publicly and admitted that they has made a huge mistake.
    7. after all, notre dame’s enemies correctly consider action jack and jenkins and the others as their greatest allies and notre dame has become a national joke in the media with norman chad’s december 7, 2009 article in the washington post “Wake up the retreads seeking her name” being just one of the very accurate descriptions of action jack’s conduct.
    8. if action jack and jenkins and the others really do love notre dame, they will get right over to charlie’s house and try to undo the damage that they have done. charlie would accept their apologies, but they would have a very rough time with charlie’s wife and son.
    9. in addition, they have already killed off notre dame’s 2009 and 2010 and future recruiting classes, but 2010 is still in verbal mode and a lot of damage could be undone with immediate action.

  4. OJ=USC most famous alum - Dec 7, 2009 at 2:55 PM

    No doubt a very smart move by Clausen. If as projected by Mel Kiper he is the number one quarterback selected there is no way he can stay for a fourth year. Look at what happened to the other two QB’s who did that. Matt Leinart lost out on millions of dollars to come back and lose a heart breaker to Texas. Bradford came back this year only to see him drop from the potential number one pick a year ago to getting inured and dropping behind Clausen this year. Trust me I think if you told Clausen if he came back to ND he would be guaranteed to win a national championship and a Heisman next year he would but both are one in a thousand chance at best. The only sure thing is that this year he will be a top pick and that is why he MUST go to the NFL or risk becoming the next Leinart or Bradford.

  5. leomcm - Dec 7, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    Hi all,
    I’ve heard from a close friend of mine that Brian Kelly renewed his contract today for unspecified sums and perks, and that he really does love the program, and wants to be around for a very long time. Seems our potential coaches are dropping off like flies. Don’t know how true this really is, but thought I’d throw it out there. This friend of mine is an alum, of USC, yea that’s right a Trojan, but like most of them have a large array of connections. Is he blowing smoke up my….Or is he just POed that we may finally beat his teams pants off.

  6. leomcm - Dec 7, 2009 at 3:19 PM

    Hi all,
    I’ve heard from a close friend of mine that Brian Kelly renewed his contract today for unspecified sums and perks, and that he really does love the program, and wants to be around for a very long time. Seems our potential coaches are dropping off like flies. Don’t know how true this really is, but thought I’d throw it out there. This friend of mine is an alum, of USC, yea that’s right a Trojan, but like most of them have a large array of connections. Is he blowing smoke up my….Or is he just POed that we may finally beat his teams pants off.

  7. robertg - Dec 7, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    1. is there anything that coach kelly or anyone else can do to save notre dame football or notre dame at this point? no.
    2. coach kelly might take the cash and go through the motions without tolerating the trash.
    3. after all, he and his young family can walk away with tons of very early retirement money, courtesy of jack swarbrick, jenkins, and others.
    4. jack and the others are not giving away their own money. the money came from donations to notre dame from people all over the world who loved notre dame,including us, but no more of that money is coming to notre dame.
    5. notre dame could join the big east conference and coach kelly might think that he could bring along the support of the dishonest big east conference officials who saved his cincinnati team from 4 losses this season.
    6. however, none of these things will ever work for what notre dame has become, much to the delight of notre dame’s enemies.

  8. Jake - Dec 7, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    The only contract he’s going to sign is with ND.
    Kelly is having a “sitdown” with them on Wed. I suspect this for show and to try to prove this wasn’t a done deal days if not weeks ago.
    Kelly has also stated he can’t guarantee he’d coach Cincy at the Sugar Bowl. What’s that tell you?

  9. Art Vandelay - Dec 7, 2009 at 3:57 PM

    Clausen has been in training most of his life to be a QB in the NFL. Now was the time for him to go and I wish him well. Maybe he’ll be successful without the Heisman jinx. I’m frankly more sorry to see Tate go…he was just an electric player who could go to the house with any touch of the ball. It did bother me when he kept jumping into the bands, however. Well, we have to find out where we are with the coaching question and with Crist’s knee, but we’ll be alright. There’s still a ton of talent that is staying put. I believe that there are 2 QB’s in this next class if I am not mistaken and if Crist isn’t ready to go I’m hoping that Hendrix and/or Rees? are ready. God knows we got whizzed on by a handful of frosh QB’s this year, maybe its our time to return the favor.

  10. grandpashyena - Dec 7, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    Slow down big guy. Two number 7’s? Whew! As a side note, since you graduated high in your H.S. class and I would guess had a high SAT why didn’t you go to ND? There is scholorship money for the deserving.

  11. NDFAN401 - Dec 7, 2009 at 4:06 PM

    Well, we all knew this was coming and I for one think he is making a poor decision. The mark of a true leader is to stand in the face of adversity and do the very best that you can for the team. Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate apparently have no regard for the team.
    I agree that Jimmys’ 2009 season was far better than his previous seasons, but it is very clear that he is leaving quite a bit on the table at Notre Dame. Golden Tate on the other hand has far less to prove but is still making the wrong decision I believe. Jimmy Clausens’ decision is most likely being influenced by Charlie Weis by telling him that he is ready to go pro. I also agree that he will be remembered for a good season but never be talked about when the greats are discussed and that is too bad because it appears he has the physical skills but for some reason he just cannot get beyond his ego.

  12. robertg - Dec 7, 2009 at 4:29 PM

    1. i turned down full academic scholarships from notre dame and from many other colleges, including ivy league colleges.
    2. i had to stay close to new york to help out members of my family who, unlike me now, were not financially secure, although my family provided me with many other things which are priceless.
    3. fordham gave me a fine jesuit education and a combination of academic scholarships which provided me not only with a free education, but with lots of extra money to help out members of my family who needed financial assistance.
    4. based on recent developments at notre dame, i am extremely happy that i turned down notre dame. children and the children of many of my realtives all over the world, who have their choices of any school on this planet were considering notre dame, but they, like i, are now ashamed of notre dame.
    6.many members of my family and i and family trusts and foundations and corporations which we own or have influence over have been making large donations to notre dame.
    7. there will be no more donations.
    8. notre dame appeared as a beneficiary in our wills. we have all eliminated notre dame from our wills.
    9. the persons responsible? jack swarbrick, father jenkins, and certain other members of the notre dame administration who betrayed ever core value for which notre dame should stand.
    10. as for the billions that we will collect in the civil courts from the economic destruction of every person and entity involved in crooked college sports enterprises, i had intended to donate most of my share of those funds to notre dame. after all, i do not need the money.
    11. now, those donations will go to deserving institutions, not to notre dame.

  13. grandpashyena - Dec 7, 2009 at 4:41 PM

    I understand now. No better education than a Jesuit one. They teach you HOW to think. Maybe donate the bucks to Forham when they start rolling in, though I would think that the overwhelming part of ND deserves support. All those you finger will eventually be gone but ND will live on. Think about it.

  14. Jake - Dec 7, 2009 at 5:07 PM

    I believe J.C. is making a wise business decision. He really owes nothing to the fans and has no obligation to become a “legend”. I have read that the group of quarterbacks coming out is not a bumper crop and his draft status isn’t going to get any better. If he stays and ended up with a career ending injury he would loose millions and in a few years fans would say Jimmy Who?
    Of course going high in the first round has it’s own curse. You get the honor of being selected by a ghastly team and get pounded into the turf on a regular basis. Ask Brady how it’s worked out for him.
    Success in the NFL isn’t based on the college you come from or your draft choice. What you do get is a lot of Jack up front and a ton of pressure. Then you get a minor strain and come out for a play or two, and if the God’s are really frowning on you that day, get replaced by a backup that comes from somewhere in Mississippi.

  15. Kejji - Dec 7, 2009 at 6:20 PM

    Well robertg, you being the legal shining light of all that is good and holy concerning Notre dame…you think it is time to drop a couple of rico bombs on action jack and father jenkins??…clearly what they did was under-handed and if you dig deep enough you could probably find just cause.

  16. irishfanintx - Dec 7, 2009 at 6:21 PM

    I hate to see both go as they are both very talented individuals. I think that Jimmy stands a better chance at going high in the draft than Tate does. I certainly understand why both of them would decide to go. Coming back for one more year would mean risking injury, not performing as well, and losing value in next years draft. Also, if memory serves me correctly, the NFL may be reevaluating rookie salary schedules after this year which might mean less money even if they stay around and have great years.

  17. Touchdown Jesus - Dec 7, 2009 at 7:16 PM

    anyone who thinks that the pickle man will succeed in the NFL is an idiot.

  18. Mike - Dec 7, 2009 at 10:16 PM

    I coached QBs in college. Clausen has a good arm and a quick release. His deep ball is just ok and I think he needs to work on his reads. Another year at Notre Dame would give him a chance a achieve a meaningful legacy, something he has not done. I understand the money side of the decision but ask Tiger about money and happiness.
    Its a shame that the shadow of pro sports corrupts the wonderful spectacle that is college football.
    Tate is ready but again no legacy. A Heisman would enshrine him in ND football lore. Everyone remembers Tim Brown, no one will remember Golden Tate.

  19. StephenOfTroy - Dec 7, 2009 at 11:29 PM

    Wow, Robert T. Gilleran, you’re really running this petulant-whiner thing into the ground. Now you’re “ashamed” of ND (Comment 12, point 5, supra; see also, Comment 12, point 4, supra)?
    Honestly, Robert, if you are going to morph into being a Weis-promoter and Swarbrick-hater, that’s one thing. Your personal vendettas are always amusing. But when you recently wrote that Notre Dame has “zero future” without Weis, my virtual ears (that’s for you, TLNDMA – he’s not “talking” and I’m not “listening”) perked up. If your lunacy is now going to extend to bashing (and GIVING UP ON) the entire University of Notre Dame, I must remind you that you admitted you have “no connection to Notre Dame except to admire her integrity.” If you admired her integrity before, but now you’re trashing her at every opportunity, I don’t think ND needs your admiration.
    You may not believe that I’m an ND fan. But I’m the one defending her from YOU. So think about that as you’re pretending to draft your silly imaginary legal pleadings, bub.

  20. jks65 - Dec 8, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    Both Golden and Jimmy will be remembered by all who bought there jerseys and jerseys as x-mas gifts that they can’t give now.Good scam ND could not buy real jerseys for any other player this year.I was wronged maybe sometime soon a great#7 & #23 will play and stay anyone need a #7 jersey

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