Welcome Aboard: Brandon Clemons

Michigan State got another commitment on Sunday when Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania lineman Brandon Clemons became the 20th player to join the 2011 recruiting class.  He played on the offensive and defensive lines in high school, but Clemons has said he was recruited to play on the DL.  Here are his rankings:

RIVALS: 4 stars, 5.8 Rivals Ranking, #143 Overall, #6 Guard, #7 Overall in Pennsylvania

SCOUT: 3 stars, #34 Defensive Tackle

ESPN: 3 stars, 76 Grade, #53 Guard

Clemons's life has been rocky to say the least.  I present to you an excerpt from possibly the fluffiest, most heartwarming article we will link to all year:

As his athletic gifts opened doors, Brandon increased his school course work. It was a difficult transition, but through time he worked his way into taking Advanced Placement classes, and he became active in the school's mentor program.

And through it all, he never lost sight of who helped him get to this improbable point in his life.

"The Zimniks mean so much to me," Brandon said, choking back tears, pausing to gather his emotions and reflect. "I couldn't be more grateful. They prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner and they buy me clothes. They never ask for anything. When I got hurt, they took me to the hospital.

It's just like "The Blind Side", except Dave Wannstedt is played by Tom Selleck, Ralph Friedgen is played by Michael Chiklis in a fat suit, and Mark Dantonio would play himself if he didn't shatter camera lenses by glaring at them.

Not to get lost in the warm fuzzies is  that Clemons is an elite football player.  He played on both sides of the line for his team this season and did well.  Here's the relevant information:

As a senior Clemons earned All-Region honors as a defensive lineman. He had 40 tackles and three fumble recoveries and blocked four kicks.

He began his senior year as a highly touted prospect and lived up to expectations, being named a Lackawanna Football Conference Division I all-star on both offense and defense.

At 6'4" and 265 pounds he already has decent size; a redshirt year should get him around 280 pounds and ready for Big Ten play.  

Assuming Clemons slots in on the defensive line, MSU has six committed defensive linemen in this class, seven if you think Lawrence Thomas will eventually shift to defensive end.  While the Spartans needed players for the front four in this class, I think one or two are eventually going to move to the offensive line - seven players on the DL compared to two on the OL looks like a bit of an imbalance.  However, this imbalance falls under the category of "problems you want to have", and I'll take it any day of the week.

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