PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Darrius Clemons has turned heads for his athleticism. His 6-feet-3 frame gives defensive backs around Portland nightmares. But with offers from multiple Division 1 powerhouses, his coach at Westview High School said his on-field talent is only part of why everyone wants him on their team.
“What I’m most proud about him is not necessarily what he does on the field, it’s what he does off the field,” Coach Ryan Atkinson said. “He does things that leaders do and he’ll have a great career because of that. He’s a hard worker and he takes care of his business.”
Clemons is a wide receiver being wooed by colleges across the country. He’s narrowed his top 3 choices to Penn State, Auburn — and Oregon. While the recruiting blogs and coaches focus all their attention on him, he’s focusing his attention on the next generation.
“I’m a senior now and my first three years I had excellent senior leaders and I want to be that person for the people younger than me,” Clemons told KOIN 6 News. “I think that’s my biggest goal this season.”
What the younger players see in Clemons is someone who understands the importance of failure.
“I just feel like the only way to get better is by competing, like, failing and succeeding. You can’t learn to succeed without failing. That’s one of the biggest lessons I carry with me throughout my life every day,” he said. “I just love going against somebody else knowing they want to beat me and I got to beat them.”
It’s a lesson he learned from his dad, who played football at the University of Florida.
“I remember when I was little we used to play Madden or football, basketball, whatever in the driveway and he used to beat the crap out of me and with no remorse,” he said. “Eventually I got like, I’ve got to beat him or it’s not fun. You start winning, things become a little bit more fun.”
Clemons said the decision on where he’ll play next will be based on a lot of different factors. But for now he’s using a mindset he learned on the football field to enjoy his final season as a Wildcat.
“Every day Coach A preaches ‘stay in the present’ so I think that in and of itself is just an excellent message to start every practice with,” Clemons said. “Don’t focus on yesterday, don’t focus on tomorrow focus on what you’re doing right now, this drill, this moment, this rep. I think that’s the biggest thing I can do.”