Free State’s Calvin Clements commits to play football at Baylor
photo by: Contributed photo
Free State High offensive tackle Calvin Clements knows where he’ll be attending college and playing football.
Clements committed Thursday afternoon to Baylor, choosing its scholarship offer over those from Kansas and Kansas State.
A three-star prospect who is considered the No. 8 player in the state by Rivals.com and 247Sports, Clements was named to the Journal-World’s All-Area team in December. He also received scholarship offers from Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Minnesota and Nebraska.
“It’s definitely a sense of relief,” Clements said. “This process has been very good, but it’s been very stressful.”
Clements narrowed his list of schools to three on Tuesday, and his coach, Kevin Stewart, said he expected Clements to share his decision shortly thereafter.
A 6-foot-7, 275-pound left tackle, Clements took official visits to all three schools. He first visited Kansas on June 10, went to Kansas State on June 17 and then traveled to Baylor on June 24.
“I came off that Kansas official and thought, ‘I could be part of this program,’ but I also loved Baylor a lot and needed to take my official visit there,” Clements said. “I felt like when I was down in Waco, it was a great experience and it was where I needed to be.”
Clements spent his first two seasons playing eight-man football at Veritas Christian, then transferred to Free State for his junior year. Kansas offered Clements his first football scholarship in March 2021 — before he had played in a varsity game for the Firebirds.
Baylor offered him a scholarship on Oct. 1, and he visited the school for the first time on Jan. 30.
Although Clements broke his left ankle in the Class 6A sectional-round playoff loss to Derby on Nov. 12, he underwent surgery a week later and was walking by late January. He has been able to join his Free State teammates for summer workouts, which conclude in mid-July.
Stewart said he considers Clements to be the best lineman in the state and that he wants the senior to “understand that this is kind of his team.”
“If he can take the team by the reins, so to speak, and be that leader and set the tone, that’s what we’re looking for from him this year,” Stewart said.
One indication of Clements’ willingness to be a good teammate, Stewart said, is that he hasn’t missed any team activities while making his visits.
“That really shows you how good of a kid he is and a hard worker,” he said. “He’s going to do these trips on the weekend but he still puts his team first, shows up and works hard in the weight room and goes to football practice. He could be using that excuse to miss (obligations) but he’s not. He’s making an emphasis to still be a good teammate and work hard. That’s been really impressive.”
Clements is the fourth offensive lineman to commit to Baylor as part of the class of 2023, which now has 21 players, but the first who doesn’t project to play center or guard in college. That could open a path to playing time fairly early, Clements said, which was also part of the appeal.
And although he wasn’t particularly sure at first about going to college so far away from home, the official visit last weekend gave he and his parents, Tyler and Lindsay, confidence that it was the right spot for him.
“I really needed to get a good feel for it, and on my official visit, I got a great feel for the family aspect,” he said. “What they do down there at Baylor and how genuine it is, I’m comfortable with the distance.”