Sunday, June 17, 2007

2007 Recruiting - Shomari Clemons

This is 2007 signee Shomari Clemons, SS/LB, 6'2", weighs between 205# and 230# depending on which service you believe, runs between a 4.5 and 4.6 40 depending on which service you believe. Shomari is a 4-star recruit and adds to what is a special class of defensive backs for the Tigers in 2007 that includes Chad Jones, Phelon Jones, and Stefoin Francois, all of whom appear to have All-SEC and NFL-calibre ability. There is also Delvin Breaux, who of course has to overcome a serious injury, but who some say is a real gem.

Shomari Clemons was supposed to be a member of the 2006 class out of West Monroe High School in West Monroe, Louisiana, which has been a prime feeder school for LSU football. He didn't make the grades, however, and decided to return to high school rather than go to junior college. He made the grades on his return and re-committed to LSU without substantially re-opening his recruiting.

So Shomari will enter LSU a little older than his other true freshman teammates, and also having overcome a little more adversity. I'm sure it was frustrating and embarrassing not to grades at the proper time, but you have to commend him for going back and making it right.

Shomari Clemons is tall enough to play any position. If you believe that he is 205# and runs a 4.5, he's the right size for a safety. If he's 230# and 4.6, he's the right size for a linebacker. He's a guy who I'll be very interested in knowing how he does in the strength and conditioning program. If he's going to be a safety, you'd ideally like him to be in the 215# range without losing any of his 4.5 speed. If he's going to be a linebacker, hopefully he can be bulked up a little further, also without losing any of his 4.5 speed.

One of the most important and least predictable aspects of transitioning from high school to college athletics is the transition from high school strength and conditioning to college strength and conditioning. The training and nutrition programs in college are much more intense than in high school, and every athlete has to make the transition. Their bodies then change as they get more muscular. Most get significantly bigger.

What separates an elite player from an ordinary player is that the elite player gets bigger without losing speed or quickness. This is true at all positions. Most every player has to get stronger to compete at the college level, and if you can get stronger without getting slower, you will probably be a special player. If you get stronger and lose quickness or speed, you probably won't.

I'm not sure I can articulate precisely why I'm bringing this up in relation to Shomari Clemons, but it has to do with his disagreeing profiles. The 4.5 speed at 205# is nice, but the 4.6 speed at 230# worries me. If he slows down upon bulking up, that will limit what he can do. However, he hasn't played football in a year, so the 230# number might simply mean that he was out of shape, in which case the 4.6 speed is actually pretty impressive. He hasn't been playing football and hasn't been in the advanced program that Tommy Moffitt will give him since he first committed in 2006, and now he will be.

God, I can't wait for football.

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