Clausen lands with Bears

BOB WIENEKE
South Bend Tribune

The situation, according to renowned quarterbacks coach Steve Clarkson, could best be described as ideal for former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.

"I think being near his second home, playing at Notre Dame and now having a chance to possibly play for the Bears," Clarkson said, "that could be what the doctor ordered."

Clausen, who was drafted in 2010 by the Carolina Panthers and spent the first four years of his career there, was a free agent before signing with Chicago on Thursday. Clausen worked out for the New England Patriots on Wednesday before doing the same Thursday for the Bears.

"And they were blown away with his workout and signed him immediately," said Clarkson, who has trained Clausen for years.

Clausen, whom the Panthers picked in the second round of the 2010 draft after playing at ND from 2007-09, started 10 games as a rookie. The team used the top overall pick the following year on Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, and Newton has held the job since. Clausen had shoulder surgery last year and spent the season on injured reserve.

"You're kind of on a team but you're not on a team. You're sort of in no-man's land," Clarkson said. "He was aware that there was probably a (good) chance he wouldn't be back with Carolina because that was his last year in his deal."

In Chicago, Clausen is expected to compete for the back-up job behind starter Jay Cutler. The Bears also have Jordan Palmer as a potential back-up as well as sixth-round pick David Fales of San Jose State.

"Maybe getting a new start in Chicago, he can sit back and possibly learn from Jay Cutler a little bit and get under (head coach) Marc Trestman, who is an offensive genius and maybe that's what he needs," Clarkson said.

Watching Waller

Clarkson has trained not only a Notre Dame QB of the past in Clausen, he also has worked with one that the Irish coaching staff would like to sign in the future.

Travis Waller, who plays at Servite High in Anaheim, Calif., was offered by ND this week in the wake of Blake Barnett backing out of the November commitment he made to the program.

One of the things that Clarkson pointed out is how Waller has played against big-time competition, listing national powers Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman as teams Servite has tangled with.

"And he's been a dominant player in those games," Clarkson said." He'll fit in at any system. He's what I like to call a pro-style athlete. He can operate out of a pro system but also is your new-wave spread quarterback. He's very gifted athletically. he's extremely accurate as a passer."

Clarkson said Waller is hopeful to make a visit to ND soon and expects a decision within weeks. A top four or five could be announced this weekend.

"He's a great kid, he's an outstanding football player," Clarkson said. "If Notre Dame is fortunate enough to get him, they're not going to be ... they're not going backwards that's for sure. The kid's one heck of a football player."

Clarkson also coached Barnett, although the two have not spoken recently.

All-that

Three current Notre Dame players were named to the Phil Steele preseason All-America team this week.

Sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith earned a spot on the second team, senior tight end Ben Koyack on the third team and junior cornerback KeiVarae Russell on the fourth team.

BWieneke@SBTinfo.com ¦ 574-235-6428 ¦ Twitter: @BobWienekeNDI

Carolina Panthers' Jimmy Clausen (7) looks to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/BOB LEVERONE)