Former University of Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen shared some insightful thoughts on recruiting during an appearance Thursday on the News Sentinel's radio show, The Sports Page.
Clausen knows recruiting well enough to be an analyst. He and his two brothers were all recruited to play major college football and he's mentoring two quarterback prospects, junior Nick Montana and sophomore Trevor Gretzky, at Oaks Christian Academy.
On new coach Lane Kiffin's recruitment of California quarterbacks: "For a Southern California kid, the key is to get them on campus. If you can get them on campus and show them the facilities and the athletes running around all over the field, it is enticing to a kid.
"I think it is going to happen with the tie he (Kiffin) has in California and the tie (recruiting coordinator Ed) Orgeron has with him at USC is going to be huge."
On prospect Nick Montana: "He can play in a system where he is under center and can take a three, five, seven step drop or you can put him in the gun and run what LSU and Florida or Texas runs. He is a great athlete. He runs the 100 and 200 (meter) in track.
"He was at a high school in De LaSalle where they ran the veer option and threw maybe four times a game. We at Oaks run a pro style offense. We will throw it 20 to 25 times a game and run it 25 times. His best football is not even close to what he is today. He is going to get better and better."
On Montana's impression of UT during a recent visit: "He liked it a lot. Being a west coast kid, you see things on TV but really don't see it until you get out there.
"He was very impressed with the coaching staff, the facilities. ... I think some of the coaches are going to come down during spring practice and watch him live."
On Nick’s father, NFL Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana, and his effect on his son: “He (Nick) is definitely football savvy. He understands reads and coverages and progressions and things like that. Whichever school gets him I think will get a good player for the fact that he is just now starting to peak.
On what he’s told Nick about recruiting and UT: “It is different than any things you have ever experienced. You will play in front of 106,000 people in the best conference in America. You will play with the best athletes every single year.
“With Coach Kiffin coming in now, that is a pro-style offense. A lot of quarterbacks now are looking at throwing it 40-50 times (in a spread offense). At the end of the day, if you want to play at the next level, you need to go to a school where they run a pro-style offense. You will be under center and run all different kinds of drops and reading progressions and making run checks at the line of scrimmage.
“With what they are going to do on the offensive side of the ball (at UT) I think it is something that he (Montana) will enjoy. I told him to try and see as many places as he can. You’ll know when you get a feel for a school or a coach and players. It is so early I just told him to see as many places as he can.”
On quarterback Trevor Gretzky, Wayne Gretzky's son: "Trevor is obviously a young pup. He is a sophomore right now. He has a lot of talent and ability right now. He is every bit of 6-4 and is really good at baseball too."