Clarion University Athletics

04/21/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/21/2017 12:48

Battles for top spots still ongoing at Spring Football

CLARION, Pa. When the Clarion University football team steps on the field to begin the 2017 campaign next season, it will do so with a wealth of experience at a number of key positions, including a veteran defense that began to come together at the end of last season as well as an offensive line that returns pretty much everyone who saw significant time in. the trenches in 2016.

However, the Golden Eagles will undoubtedly be greener in one key area to open up next season: quarterback.

After the departure of senior quarterback , the Blue and Gold will look to within their own organizational depth to fill in the gap under center.

'We like what we've seen from both guy so far,' head coach said. 'It's still up in the air though. Both guys have been doing good things in practice, but neither has been consistent enough yet on a daily basis for what we're looking for.'

That duo in contention includes redshirt sophomore as well as true sophomore Deandre Clayton, both of whom are getting a long look in spring camp as well as throughout the summer to see who the better option is to fill Simmons' role.

And make no mistake, replacing him won't be easy. After all, Simmons left Clarion last season as the all-time program leader in touchdown passes after breaking the previous mark held by Coach Weibel on the second to last day of the season, and had been entrenched in the starter role for two years.

But that's not to say that Clemens and Clayton don't have the pedigree to replace him. Far from it, in fact.

Clemens got the nod and started two games under center for CU in 2016 when Simmons was sidelined for three games with an upper-body injury, and the Wexford native performed admirably, throwing for six touchdowns and over 400 yards over three games. The comfort and familiarity Clemens showed in 2016 will certainly be a big advantage going into this summer, and one that could provide him with the boost needed to win the starting role full time.

However, things are far from decided, and what Clayton lacks in experience, he more than makes up for in pedigree.

Standing 6'2, Clayton was a duel-threat standout at South County Highschool in Lorton, VA where he passed for over 3000 yards and ran for almost 800 in his two years as a starter. Clarion is hoping he is able to unleash some of that same athleticism and agility for the Blue and Gold.

The Spring Game on Aril 29th will give CU fans and players alike their first chances to see what Clayton and Clemens have to offer, and while it will probably be a few more months before a starter is named, the potential for another solid Clarion offense is already in the works.

'Everything has been coming together nicely so far,' Weibel said. 'We're continuing to push the pace and intensity every day to become a better squad and see who has what it takes to to be a starter on this team.'