Frosh Clement eyes instant impact

first_imgTrue Freshman running back Corey Clement made the most of this reps from the third spot on the depth chart, passing the century mark in his first game.[/media-credit]When freshman running back Corey Clement stepped on the field late in the third quarter Saturday against the University of Massachusetts, the game was already won.Wisconsin held a commanding 35-0 lead over the visiting Minutemen and head coach Gary Andersen decided to rest his knockout one-two punch of senior James White and Melvin Gordon for bigger games to come. Both running backs had already run for 146 yards each – a set of statistics most Wisconsin fans expected.What came next, however, was not so expected.While methodically running out the clock, Clement ran for a total of 101 yards on 16 carries before finally capping it off with a 23-yard touchdown run with 4 minutes, 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter.And while rushing for more than 100 yards and a touchdown might be considered a dream start for any freshman just beginning his college football career, Clement’s goals for the season don’t get any lower.“My goal is to be freshman of the year or something along those lines,” Clement said. “I would love to cap 1,000 yards for the season – that is one of my dream things as a freshman – and winning the Big Ten to celebrate with the team. Why not go for a fourth one”?Even though his goals may seem lofty for a running back that currently sits a lowly third on the depth chart, Clement knows that reaching them will be no easy feat.After all, he is a freshman in a tough, gritty conference known for hard hits and big players.However, it’s that very doubt from fans and coaches alike that he says drives him to prove them all wrong. The former Glassboro, N.J. high school football standout has been in this position before, eventually going on to break the single-game record for yards gained in the state of New Jersey with 479 yards in his senior season in 2012.“It’s been kind of like reliving my freshman year of high school all over again in some ways,” Clement said. “I kind of like the freshman thing. I was always underestimated, but it’s always progressed easier as I’ve moved up … I want to get better every year.”Fortunately for Clement, he has three of the best teachers around to show him the ropes.Besides getting to watch and learn from two of the most renowned running backs currently in the Big Ten Conference, Clement also gets to learn from third-year running backs coach Thomas Hammock.In Hammock’s first year as coach, former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball tied the single-season record for touchdowns and was named a finalist for the Heisman. One year later Hammock helped coach Ball to a new NCAA all-time touchdown record and the Doak Walker Award, while also helping White and Gordon to standout seasons as well.Now add four-star high school recruit Clement to the long line of highly-touted Wisconsin running backs and Hammock thinks Clement could be as good as the best of them with a little bit of hard work and determination.“He’s got that hard-working, tough, blue collar mentality,” Hammock said. “My goal for him is to come out and compete every day and make it a healthy competition amongst our group of running backs. … Each week if he gets the opportunity, he has to make the most of it.”Even outside of football, Clement is driven to succeed. Unlike many other freshmen in college, video games or hanging out with his friends aren’t what he considers his biggest hobby. Instead, Clement is interested in the business world and hopes to take advantage of many opportunities to network while he attends the University of Wisconsin.“I’m kind of a networking guy,” Clement said. “Jay Z, he works off his own craft and that’s what I want to do in life … It can be whatever you want it to be.”Still, once you get behind that tough, driven exterior, underneath Clement is still just a young college freshman. He is on his own away from home for the first time. He has to adjust to new difficult classes and make new friends – just like many other new students that arrived to campus during the last couple of weeks.“The first time I came here I was kind of homesick,” Clement said. “You’re alone, don’t really know anybody. I’ve definitely gotten more comfortable over the last couple weeks though and I’m pretty close with the team.“Now I still call back in to check on things at home every once and awhile, but I’m here doing my thing playing football for Wisconsin and that’s pretty cool.”last_img

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