Clements drawing rave reviews early in fall camp; more notes from Day 5

AUG 7, 2023
Calvin Clements’ size is, by all accounts, difficult to ignore.
“He’s giant,” said redshirt senior teammate Dominick Puni, who is himself listed at 6-foot-5, 320 pounds. “I’m looking up to him and he’s younger than me, so it’s crazy.”
Indeed, the offensive tackle Clements is, as a freshman, already tied for the tallest and among the biggest players on the Kansas football roster at 6-foot-7 and 310 pounds. But somehow that hasn’t been his most salient quality since he arrived in Lawrence as an early enrollee this spring. Junior lineman Bryce Cabeldue said Clements’ football IQ is “way better than mine whenever I was at that age,” and offensive line coach Scott Fuchs had plenty of praise for his young charge’s intangibles Monday as well.
“One of my favorite things about him, honestly, is (he has) a lot of composure to himself too,” Fuchs said. “He’s never too high, never too low. He understands, ‘I’m out here to get better, to work.'”
Clements could have been two states away at this point, but the Free State product made a decision in the late stages of his recruiting to flip from Baylor back to his hometown KU. At the time, Clements said that spending time with his family in Lawrence and seeing the Jayhawks qualify for a long-awaited bowl game helped reaffirm his faith in the school.
“I’ve seen this program go through its different stages and I grew up going to the losses and the not-even-close-to-full stadium, and I’ve just always had a lot of pride in KU,” he said in December. “I think these new coaches are really determined to not only switch this program through winning but also to capture the community and get the city and the state behind them.”
Clements was one of a few freshmen to enroll early in the spring, and the work he got in before he would have normally graduated high school seems to be paying dividends, as head coach Lance Leipold said last week he’s already getting work with the second unit.
“He’s a fast learner, you know what I mean,” said junior lineman Michael Ford Jr. “He’s observed coaching and peer teaching very well, and he’s a great human being too.”
Only five quarterbacks participated in the 30-minute segment of practice open to media Monday, but Leipold said after practice that starter Jalon Daniels was present but simply didn’t take any reps due to “back tightness.”
Leipold downplayed the issue — “If I’m saying it, you know, a week or so from now, then we can probably dive in deeper” — and characterized Daniels of one of several players dealing with minor ailments, including wide receiver Luke Grimm and linebacker Taiwan Berryhill Jr. He added that Daniels threw as recently as Sunday.
Taking inspiration from the Chiefs
KU offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki is encouraging his players to get involved in submitting potential plays to install in the Jayhawks’ offense. Leipold called that “a great idea” Monday, adding that it was inspired by the Kansas City Chiefs, who have been known to solicit player input into the offense.
“They get to understand our lens a little bit,” Leipold said, “but it’s having a piece of ownership, and it gives them a chance to be creative and fun, and shows our belief in them.”
Kotelnicki said Friday that he’s already accepted a pair of plays from the tight end group that he has yet to install. Just don’t expect anything as off-the-wall as the Chiefs’ “snow globe” play from late last NFL season.
“We’ll see,” Leipold said. “I don’t think we’re going to run out in a circle or anything in the huddle yet.”

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