Jimmy Clausen: Ready For Launch?

Gage ArnoldCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2009

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 13: Quarterback Jimmy Clausen #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on the field during the game against  the Boston College Eagles on October 13, 2007 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

When Jimmy Clausen stepped off of his high school campus at Oaks Christian we knew this kid had star-power ability. In turn, he showed us he agreed by rolling up in a white stretch-limo.

Does that look a tad too overplayed in retrospect?

Some might say yes, but while the number—and wins—and success haven't necessarily followed, it isn't too late for Clausen to make a success out of his career.

Clausen was, and will always be, heralded as the "gem" of Charlie Weis, his first true "high-profile" recruit.

But as usual, media overlooks the fact that Clausen was not the only five-star recruit nabbed by Weis as highly sought OL Sam Young and RB James Aldridge were both five-stars and were, and still are, overlooked.

Again, many claim and will continue to stand firm against Jimmy's, umm...flamboyant manner in which he handles his business. While he does certainly stand out, and hasn't really backed it up, this criticism is rightly deserved.

But with the pressure of an entire program, and not only "a program," but "The Program" that is most recognized in all of college football.

He had an insurmountable amount of pressure and hopes and dreams resting on his shoulders from day one, and it became that much more whenever Demetrius Jones completely flopped and the reigns where handed to Clausen right there in Bobby-Dodd Stadium that Saturday night.

He then fumbled, stumbled, and rolled to an awful season for the Irish. This was most likely the low-point in the Charlie Weis era, but there was and still is nowhere to go but up.

Clausen also ended up having a "secret surgery" on his elbow to help some bone spurs; however the surgery was not let out by coach Weis, and this only fanned the flames.

So rose the Clausen haters ever more.

The Irish managed to finish a whopping 116th in scoring offense, 115th in rushing offense, and 110th in total offense.

That was mostly acclaimed to the complete and total vanishing of an offensive line, which may or may not be held in contempt to Coach Weis.

The system began to improve and the Irish bumped up to 59th in scoring offense in Clausen's sophomore season and this was a setting trend as the Irish have increased in total offense, rushing offense, passing offense, and scoring offense each of the past three seasons.

Clausen also topped the 3,000 yard mark in passing yards last season as WR's Golden Tate and Michael Floyd proved to be huge playmakers.

Now while Clausen has been seen as overbearing in all aspects of life except on the football field, he still has shown improvement (something some QBs have yet to show, ahem Jonathan Crompton).

"He has all the throws. The long ball. The short ball. He can put the steam on. He can take it off. He can move around the pocket. He gets rid of the ball extremely fast. And he's a good leader. If there's a freshman who could ever start at a four-year school like Notre Dame, it would be Jimmy Clausen."

That is a quote from Jimmy Clausen's high school coach at Oaks Christian. He has watched Clausen grow up from a wee freshman and seen his development. He knows how and what Jimmy will do.

Your take on Clausen all depends on your view.

Is your glass half full? Is Jimmy Clausen just now tapping into his football greatness after a little bump?

Or is your glass half empty? And is Jimmy Clausen an absolute disgrace for his off-the-field antics and not backing any of it up with his sub-par QB play?

The question lies in your hands.

My glass is half full. Call me an optimist, but trends tend to follow through.