Jimmy Clausen, Should We Want Him?

I apologize for my lack of off-season contribution compared to last year, but I just stumbled over something new to me and it should make for an interesting discussion.

Let me begin by saying that I like Clausen. I think he can succeed.

Many teams have their boards virtually set in stone and have their opinions backed with pages and pages of info. Since we don't have most of the info they have, we do the spot-check (at least I do). I watch a college football game and say "Hey he looks good" or "OOOVerAAAted".

With Clausen, he was hyped from high school. To me, he was the freshman that looked awful and slowly got better. In 2009, he really caught my eye. The stats are nice. The "not spread" offense (my terminology is projecting out) is nice and the fact that he was a team captain is nice.

Here's what my eyes saw:

Pocket Awareness

Resiliency (he got beat up and kept displaying that he wanted the game just as bad as anyone there)

Plenty of Arm (People talk his arm down but its plenty there, he's just not Jamarcus Russel<-- and in so many ways is that an accurate statement)

Accuracy (just watch)

I really don't know what you can't like about that video besides level of difficulty, but talent should shine on any level and it was obvious here.

As I was doing some reading, I found this:

"Weis cites Clausen's ability to "pitch a perfect game," using his quarterback's performance vs. Hawaii in 2008 as an example. That bowl game turned out to be his coming out party. He completed 84.6 percent of his passes, gain 401 yards and connect on five touchdown throws. He would follow that contest by producing seven 300-plus yard performances in 12 games the following season, including 452 yards vs. Navy."

These are stats from the video above and I felt like I was leaving it out.

And also from the above link:

"The Irish quarterback showed his patience, timing and pinpoint accuracy. He owns two of the longest streaks in school history -- 132 pass attempts without an interception in 2008 and another long stretch of 160 tosses without having a pass picked in 2009. The only Irish quarterback to top that mark was Quinn, who went 226 throws before having one picked off in 2006."

Quinn being Brady Quinn (I'm probably underestimating my audience).

I'll save the comparison argument for another day, but Quinn is currently not starting in the NFL and we'll leave it at that.

Off-Field Issues:

1) 2007: Cited for Illegal Transportation of Alcohol

Everyone who pays attention to GM Gene just gasped and said, "No, we're not drafting him". I'll now quote from the same CBS link:

2007: On June 23, Clausen was cited for illegal transportation of alcohol in South Bend. He was driving someone who was of legal drinking age to a liquor store to buy alcohol. According to published reports, Clausen entered a pre-trial diversion program which erased the citation since he stayed out of trouble for the next 12 months.

My Take: Maybe I'm allowing myself to be blind, but he gave someone a ride. If he was going to drink, well its college and most people do. I just really don't see this as something worth worrying about

2) 2009: He got punched. Once again, CBSsports will tell us about it.

2009: On Nov. 22, Clausen was involved in an altercation outside of a South Bend pub. Sources indicate that Clausen was there with family and teammates following the team's senior day loss to Connecticut. It was reported that upon his departure, he was punched in the face outside of the pub. According to a university source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter, Clausen was at C.J.'s Pub about 2 a.m. with his family and girlfriend. The group decided to leave after words were exchanged with others at the bar. As they were leaving, Clausen's girlfriend realized she left her purse behind. The source says Clausen went back to retrieve the purse and someone followed him outside and punched him. The source says the quarterback did not fight back and left. A South Bend Police Department spokesperson stated that no police report was filed over that weekend involving Clausen. Reports indicate that Clausen was left with a black eye. A later report of this incident indicated that the other subject involved in this incident allegedly shoved Clausen's girlfriend. It was reported that Clausen then shoved the subject away prior to Clausen being punched.

My Take: I can't find the video, but I saw an interview with him where he said that he and his girlfriend at the time were leaving and a drunk guy had some words with him and his girl and then punched him in the face. Now, doesn't that just sound chivalrous of him to take her away and not fight back. Maybe its the truth and maybe it's his agent talking. I can't weigh in on account of being ignorant and not knowing the guy. NFL teams have probably looked into it. Make your own opinion as it doesn't even sound like he started it, but .....

STATS: I love stats as long as they're taken within context. All you need to know is pro system before you look at these. Notice the constant improvement.

Passing Stats
2007-08 Notre Dame 10 245 138 1254 6 7 34 103.9
2008-09 Notre Dame 13 440 268 3172 17 25 21 132.5
2009-10 Notre Dame 12 425 289 3722 4 28 24 161.4
TOTAL 35 1110 695 8148 27 60 79 137.2


There have been many reports about his ego. No one incident that is worth citing (that I am aware of). He seems to be a true competitor that comes across as a little harsh, coincidentally a little Irish. Now that I got a bad joke out of the way, I'll say that I see this as a competitive nature. My only concern would be in how it affects the locker room. Is he cocky or just a wall of motivation?

Golden Tate (WR Notre Dame) seemed to back him up in an interview a while back, but it doesn't even matter because in the write-up, it was already being taken as Tate just trying to make Clausen seem better than he was, a balance toward the media's work if you will. Who knows how to even take that? All I can say is that he was a team captain and maybe, just maybe that was because they knew it would help him get drafted higher but c'mon, should we really be this cynical? I think not. I'll lean positive here.

Physical Measurements:

Here is the nugget I found, see if you catch it.


Height: 6'3"

  • Weight: 222 lbs.

  • Arm Length: 30 3/4 in.

  • Hand Size: 9 in.

Nine inch hands? Are you kidding me? That's not good at all.

Prime example of why this is bad: Alex Smith.

I tried to find the average hand size. Someone on Wiki had answered with this:

"I think about 9 and a half inches from base of the palm to the tip of the middle finger. A very small size for them is 8 and a half inches like Alex Smith. Brett Favre though has huge hands at 10 5/8 inches.

"The measurement is not from palm base to tip of middle finger. It is a hand span, from the tip of the pinky to the tip of a thumb on an outstretched hand."

My Take: (if you missed the big bold letters) I'm sitting there, watching ESPN and I notice Clausen constantly shuffling the ball pre-pass. I turn my head slightly to the side like a dog and just as i squint my eyes to study, I'm reminded of the way that shortstops in baseball pad the ball twice before throwing to first and then on the good throws they barely get the ball to first in time. It always bothers me to see this. I didn't know if this was just a bad habit for Clausen, so I started reading and found the hand size.

For comparison's sake, here are some more QB hand sizes:


Nathan Brown (Central Arkansas): 9"

Brown was cut from the Jags so I decided to bring him up.

Chase Daniels (Missouri): 9 1/4"

Yardage guy that didn't really make it

Josh Freeman (Kansas State): 10"

First rounder who starts

Graham Harrel (Texas Tech): 9 1/2"

See Daniels, Chase

Mark Sanchez (USC): 10 1/2"

Caused a big trade and started as a rookie. I think he will be good for a long time...

Matt Stafford (Georgia): 10"

First overall pick in 2009. Gave the Lions hope down the line if they fix their line.

Pat White (West Virginia): 9 1/4"

I really don't understand the Dolphins QB stable but White is not the starter.


Sam Bradford (Oklahoma): 9 1/2"

Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame): 9"

Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan): 9 1/4"

Tony Pike (Cincinatti): 10"

Colt McCoy (Texas): 9 3/8"

Jarret Brown (West Virginia): 10"

Tim Tebow (yeah): 10 1/8"

Jevan Snead (Miss.): 10"

John Skelton (Fordham): 9 3/4"

Sean Canfield (Oregon State): 9 1/4"

Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State): 9"

Thaddeus Lewis (Duke): 9 5/8"

Clausen is tied for the smallest hands. I'm apprehensive.

Maybe I have just become the "over-analyzer" but shuffling the ball to get a better grip because your hand is too small will make a throwing window shorter and could cause you to miss it entirely.

But as DeAngelo Williams, the short-in-stature halfback for the Carolina Panthers, says: (loose quote here) "All my life they told me I was too small. They can measure your size and how fast you are, but they can't measure your heart"

The real quote is on an NFL Network commercial about the upcoming draft.


Like any top prospect, Clausen has been over analyzed and once you reach that stage, I believe that it's important to always go back to the tape. I liked him on tape so I've now re-convinced myself to just go back to the tape. I feel he'll be good but maybe the hand size is something worth looking into. Thoughts?

And I apologize for just aiding the "Tebow to Jags" argument.

-Brandon Clark

Here's some more tape before you get to the comment section:

Keep in mind that in 2009 his toe was injured and he wasn't able to fully get all the juice out of his throws. He's healed now.

EDIT: I just found Clausen Pro Day Footage.

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