ROANOKE, VA. -- The only position Eduardo Clements took seriously growing up was running back. But as he prepares to begin taking classes at the University of Miami, the Miami Booker T. Washington standout isn't sure that when he finishes his college career he'll still be taking handoffs.
For the past two weeks, Clements has been working out with former high school teammate and Canes cornerback Brandon Harris, who apparently has been getting in Clements' ear about giving the secondary a try.
"Brandon and I got into a heated discussion the other day," said Clements, who is expected to begin taking classes at UM on Jan. 23, a few days after he receives his final report card from Booker T. "He said, 'Bro, if you go in there and learn the system, I know you can play corner.' He said because a couple of other guys will be doing track, they'll only be like three corners around for the spring. [Defensive backs] coach [Wesley] McGriff] jokes with me all the time about going out for corner.
"To be honest, if I had to make a choice and switch, of all the positions I'd pick corner. I always liked playing it during 7-on-7. If I had to do it, I could."
With Miami's wealth and depth at running back, Clements (5-10, 190) might eventually be asked to do so. But at least when spring football begins in late February, Clements expects to be where he always has -- on the offensive side of things. That is, of course, if he's physically ready.
Five games into his senior season, Clements badly sprained the meniscus in his left knee while playing defensive end in the Tornadoes' 35-28 win over rival Miami Northwestern. He sat out his team's next three games in October before returning for the final month of the season. He finished with 694 yards rushing and 12 catches for 151 yards and a score, his worst season his freshman year when he ran for 624 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 107 yards. Clements still finished his career as one of the best all-time in Miami-Dade County, rushing for 3,105 yards and 50 touchdowns and catching 77 passes for 743 yards and five TDs. He also was named Most Valuable Player of the Class 4A state championship game in 2007.
"Basically, I'm still rehabbing," said Clements, who is graduating from Booker T. with a 3.2 GPA and 22 on the ACT exam. "The last time I saw my doctor he told me I didn't heal the way it needed to. So, now, I'm wearing a brace, trying to workout with it, stuff like that. The past two weeks, [Brandon] has been coming to Booker T., training me at corner. I'm just working to get my knee back 100 percent. I should be there by the spring game."
Rated by Rivals as the 10th best running back in the country (14th by ESPN), Clements said he feels like he closely resembles the playing style of Graig Cooper, who has become a close friend of his. With Cooper not expected to play in 2010, Clements feels he could fill the Canes' need for "a scatback."
"When you look at it, Damien Berry, Lamar Miller and Mike James are all downhill runners," Clements said. "Me and Coop are guys you can split out wide, just like he was against Florida State when he caught the touchdown.
"Basically, in all our meetings, coach Robinson tells me to be patient because they don't really know how they're going to use me. I can be patient. If I have to do the same thing Lamar Miller did, run the scout team, I will. Lamar was still ringing bells, though. I can do the same."
Clements said what he loves about Miami is the family atmosphere, which he said showed itself perfectly in the Champs Sports Bowl. "If you want to know why I picked UM, just look at one play -- when Coop got hurt," Clements said. "The first guys on the field where JJ [Javarris James] and Berry. They picked him up, helped him off the field. On this team, there are no selfish attitudes. There is just family. That's why I love The U."
> For what it's worth, Clements said Cooper told him recently his decision to return to UM or enter the NFL Draft remains "in the air." But Clements said he thinks Cooper will come back to UM. "He's down, but he's trying to stay positive," Clements said. "I think Coop just loves the UM family too much to go out like that. I think he'll be back."
> Althought I haven't been able to confirm it yet with Carol City High receiver Allen Hurns (he wasn't answering his phone late Thursday night), Clements said Hurns will be his roommate in the spring. Hurns has been waiting on receiving news regarding his grades.
> So much for giving up on Seantrel Henderson. On Thursday, Scout.com spoke to the father of U.S. Army-All American and the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle, who said his son will take his last official to the University of Miami on Jan. 22. Henderson (6-8, 330) would be the home runs of home runs if the Canes were to land him in this class. But being from Saint Paul, Minnesota, I've always felt this was a long shot. And I'm sticking to it, no matter all the nice things his dad might have to say about UM.