Very early in the recruiting cycle it became clear that Chase Claypool was one of the most intriguing prospects in the country. And when Notre Dame landed him, they signed one of the biggest wildcard athletes in the recruiting cycle.
What that means? We’ll find out when he hits the field in August.
Notre Dame’s Canadian import is a dynamic prospect, likely to start his career as a wide receiver. But the lanky and raw athlete could end up anywhere, a Swiss Army Knife of a football player who is just figuring out a game that could lead him to the secondary, tight end, outside linebacker or defensive end.
6’4.5″, 218 lbs.
A consensus four-star prospect, Canada’s top prospect. Chose Notre Dame over Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee and more. A Blue-Grey All-American Bowl participant. Invited to The Opening.
When it comes to potential, it’s hard for me to be more excited for a prospect than I am Claypool. He’s got all the tools necessary. He’s a raw athlete who hasn’t come up playing football. And he’s been used in a number of positions and played a ton of sports coming up—keeping specialization out of the equation… until now.
That’s what has me so excited. And also, his new head football coach.
“He’s so raw that we’re going to be able to create a player that can play so many different positions for us,” Brian Kelly said on Signing Day. “So we’re really excited about him.”
Claypool ran in the low-4.6s in Oregon when he was at The Opening, a more-than-solid number that matched up well with other elite big receivers. Assuming he can hold on to—or (more likely) improve—that speed, all while adding weight during his time in Paul Longo’s strength program, he could be a freaky, freaky football player.
Regardless of position.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I’d love Claypool to spend the summer cross-training on both sides of the ball. It’s not unheard of for a long and lean guy like Claypool to gain 15 pounds over three months, and if he does that he’ll be close to 235 pounds, enough weight to come off the edge and chase the passer.
Of course, I did watch his highlight video. This is a kid who averaged more than 49 points a game on the basketball court and comes to South Bend a very moldable piece of clay. (No pun intended.)
Getting on the field as a freshman shouldn’t be the most important piece of the development puzzle here. But if there’s a chance to make an impact early, it shouldn’t stop him.
It’s hard not to think about what the Irish staff did with Troy Niklas as a freshman, filling a hole at outside linebacker while utilizing a guy who just looked and played differently. Then he switched to tight end as a sophomore. Maybe they can do the same with Claypool.
Then again, wide receiver isn’t the deep spot on the roster that it was last season. And contributing as a freshman isn’t necessarily as far-fetched as it was the past few years. It won’t take long to see how Claypool’s talent translates to the next level. If he’s ready to take the leap forward, this coaching staff will find a way to maximize his abilities—at any position.
2016’s Irish A-to-Z