Free State OL Calvin Clements receiving interest from Big 12 teams entering junior campaign
photo by: Contributed
Free State junior offensive lineman Calvin Clements hasn’t played a single snap of 11-man football at the varsity level, but he’s already received scholarship offers from three Big 12 programs — Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State.
How did it happen? Part of it was Clements’ hard work at both Free State and at Veritas Christian, where he played as a freshman; part of it was showing off his skills to the Cyclones and the Wildcats in person at their summer camps.
“It’s pretty crazy when I think about it, to think that I haven’t played a varsity snap and I have three offers,” said Clements, who is listed at 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds. “But two of the three offers, I’ve been to their camps and I’ve proved that I can play and that I’m a good player.”
The Jayhawks were the first to make Clements an offer. It happened in late April, before new head coach Lance Leipold took over the program. Jon Kirby reported in Jayhawk Slant that former recruiting coordinator Joshua Eargle was the first KU staffer to give Clements a call.
Clements did get to meet the new staff during an unofficial visit to KU last weekend. He met with Leipold and offensive line coach Scott Fuchs and got a tour of the facilities. Clements said he was impressed with the new coaches’ plans for the program.
“They are definitely picking stuff up,” Clements said. “We’ll probably see a turn in KU football over these next few years. I trust those coaches; they definitely knew what they were talking about.”
K-State and Iowa State sent Clements their offers in June, after Clements had participated in their summer camps. They were able to get a firsthand look at his size, his athleticism and what he can do on the field.
Clements told the Journal-World that he doesn’t have a timeline for when he would like to make a commitment. He said he’d be thinking about factors like his relationships with coaches and how close the schools were to home.
“It’s definitely exciting that it’s happening this early,” Clements said. “It gives me lots of time to think over stuff. Lots of times, for kids, the recruiting process can come late. But it’s nice that it’s coming early.”
When his high school career began at Veritas, Clements played tight end. But Veritas competes in eight-man football, not 11-man football, so he had to block a lot from his position in addition to flashing strong hands when the ball was thrown his way.
But when Clements transferred to Free State, former assistant coach Scott Frantz suggested a position change to left tackle. That was the position that Frantz played for both Free State and K-State — from 2016 to 2019, he started in all 51 of the Wildcats’ games.
“He saw me and saw a left tackle project,” Clements said. “So he turned me into a left tackle, and I’m enjoying it a lot.”
While playing football and basketball at the junior varsity level last year, Clements added 50 pounds to his frame. He’s also become more familiar with the technical aspect of offensive line play.
Clements already has the length and size necessary to succeed in college football. He is able to consistently reach defenders on blocks, but he also displays good athleticism.
One thing Clements would like to improve is how he uses his hands.
“I need to work on my hands,” Clements said. “Sometimes my hands can tend to get outside, and you need to keep them inside.”
If he does continue to improve, Clements could be the next big offensive line prospect to come out of Free State. The last one was Turner Corcoran, who graduated from Free State in 2020 as the top-ranked recruit in Kansas and accepted an offer from the University of Nebraska.
But Clements isn’t worried about that right now. He’s focusing on getting ready for his varsity debut this fall.
“I’m really excited,” Clements said. “I think we’ll have a solid team this year. We’ve got more team camaraderie than last year, because last year was difficult with COVID.”