Film study: Notre Dame WR commit Chase Claypool

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

WR Chase Claypool, 6-5, 214; Abbotsford (B.C., Canada) Secondary.

The numbers: Claypool dominated in nearly every way possible for a skill position player during his senior season at Abbotsford. He caught 58 passes for 1,473 yards and 18 touchdowns. He rushed 47 times for 567 yards and eight touchdowns. He even completed six of his eight pass attempts for 103 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, Claypool tallied 74 tackles, five interceptions, two sacks and two fumble recoveries. He also returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns.

The rankings: Rivals – Four stars, No. 22 wide receiver. 247Sports – Four stars, No. 48 wide receiver.

FILM BREAKDOWN

First impression: Claypool can’t be contained against Canadian competition. He’s bigger, faster, stronger and simply better than anyone on the other side of the field. His traits make him an ideal candidate to be a big receiver or athletic tight end in college. His transition from Canada to Notre Dame will be fascinating to watch.

Strengths: Claypool is a big-bodied receiver with excellent athleticism. His ability to raise up in traffic and catch a pass at its highest point is impressive. He also shows tremendous concentration in making sure he hauls in the pass with multiple defenders near him. After the catch, Claypool doesn’t go down easy. He’s always looking for more yards. His shiftiness allows him to maneuver around slower defenders. Claypool has also shown a knack for playing defense. He’s not afraid of contact and is a sure tackler.

He did what? (:05) Claypool snags a catch over the head of a helpless cornerback. The catch itself is impressive, but Claypool manages to keep his balance when he lands for his leap and finishes off the play with a long touchdown … (:51) The defense tries to discourage Abbotsford from throwing to Claypool by lining up two defensive backs in his path. It doesn’t work. Instead, the ball is launched his way and Claypool makes the catch by reaching higher sandwiched between the two defenders … (2:16) Claypool shows his elusiveness on a screen pass. He cuts behind his blockers crossing the middle of the field and avoids the traffic. A couple defenders corner Claypool against the sideline but he sidesteps the first one and spins away from the second defender. Eventually Claypool runs out of real estate and is forced out of bounds.

Competition level: There’s little doubt that Claypool regularly played against competition that isn’t in the same class as him. But there was little he could do to find better competition in British Columbia, Canada. Claypool went out and performed to show the difference between himself and everyone else around him. When faced with better competition at The Opening last summer, Claypool was still able to get open and make catches against talented defensive backs. His size translates to any competition level.

Left to prove: The drastic difference between his high school competition level and Notre Dame will be the biggest storyline in Claypool’s development. It’s highly unlikely he’ll be able to make some of the plays he did at Abbotsford. But his physical gifts should get Claypool through the transition. His biggest areas of improvement as a wide receiver would come in the route running and speed departments. Crisper routes will be needed to create windows for quarterbacks to throw to Claypool. He possesses good speed for his size, but improving his burst off the line of scrimmage will help him.

tjames@ndinsider.com

574-235-6214

Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Wide receiver Chase Claypool, a four-star recruit, committed to Notre Dame at The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Ore. (Photo courtesy for Student Sports)