Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Claypool Wants To Show What Big Receivers Can Do

August 10, 2018

In terms of breakout candidates for Notre Dame on offense in 2018, junior Chase Claypool is at the top of the list.

The 6’5” 227 pound receiver started to show how talented he was last season and ended up as the second leading pass-catcher on the team. The highlight was against Wake Forest where he had nine catches and 180 yards. It was a glimpse of what he is capable of.

He's looking to prove he can be that guy all the time. It's obvious when watching him that he has the physical tools to be one of the best receivers in the nation. For that to happen, though, it’s going to come from focus and attention to detail.

He has the physical ability to be great, but it’s the little things that can push him to a different level as a player.

“Just working on the things that I struggled at last year,” Claypool stated when asked what can get him to that level. “Going back to the drawing board. There’s always something to improve and making sure I improve those things.

“Just speed off the ball even when I’m tired on a long drive. That’s something I prided myself on this off-season and this camp. Even though I’m a bigger guy, I’m one of the fastest down the field.”

Being one of the fastest down the field wasn’t always the case with Claypool. He might have relied on his physicality a bit too much in the past and his performance has been inconsistent because of it. But now that he has gone from one of the younger players to a veteran in the wide receiver room, the coaches let him know that he has take on a different role and set an example for the younger players.

“It’s just assuming that leadership mentality because when the older guys leave, you become that older guy,” Claypool said. “I have to realize that and I’ve had to assume that position along with Miles (Boykin) and (Chris) Finke. Kind of just taking that role.

“Just doing everything right because the young guys are going to look up to you. It’s not taking any plays off and making sure everything is done correctly in terms of the freshman and how they do their things. Teaching them and staying late to get that extra work in.”

When it comes to improving his own game, Claypool is looking for inspiration from other great receivers he can learn from. Recently he started watching film of the one of the top receivers in the NFL to try and incorporate parts of that player's game into his own.

“Recently since camp started I’ve watched Julio Jones. He’s someone who is a lot quicker than me and a different receiver, I think,” stated Claypool. “(I watch him) just because if I watch someone who is a lot like me, maybe I won’t be as versatile. If I watch someone who is smaller and quicker, then maybe do those things.”

Early in camp Claypool was one of the first given the honor of being named the player of the day for the offense by Brian Kelly. He has taken notice of the change in Claypool’s game and is pushing him to get better.

“That first day (Kelly) talked about how much of a difference he sees in my effort and that’s really just because I’m coming off the ball every single time no matter if it’s just a walk-through I’m working on my arm drive. He wants to see that every throughout every practice. Even though if I’m tired, he’ll understand that as long as the effort is there.”

Kelly knows how good Claypool can be if he puts in the effort. That’s why Kelly makes sure to preach to Claypool every day about the finer points of the position that can make him great.

“(He tells me) you have all the tools, you just have to use them and put them all together. He said I’m doing a good job of that so keep it up.”

The receivers did not have their best day on Thursday and working through those days is something he and the group have to get better at. Maybe before that wouldn’t have been something Claypool addressed after a practice, but he and the other receivers made sure to hold themselves accountable to be better the next time out.

“We just had a talk after practice. We didn’t have one the best practices we could have had,” admitted Claypool. “We expect the most from ourselves because we want to play for a national championship. We know we can’t do it without the receivers, the offensive line, the quarterbacks. We know we’re a really big part of that so we have to keep holding ourselves to that standard.”

That’s a lofty team goal and he knows that they have something to prove. What does Claypool want to prove to everyone watching this season?

“That us big receivers can do it all. That’s we’re not limited to a couple of things on the field. I want to show that for everyone.”

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