Notre Dame Football: Fans Are Excited About Chase Claypool

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports /

Let’s have a look at the Canadian kid who’s arguably the most intriguing player on Notre Dame’s roster.

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Chase Claypool

NCAA Football: Stanford at Notre Dame
NCAA Football: Stanford at Notre Dame /

6’4.5, 222 lbs. Fantastic size for a wide receiver. The most exciting part is how athletic he is.

Claypool comes from Canada where high school football isn’t what it is in America. Many thought he would be too raw to play as a freshman.

They were wrong.

Chase was one of the best, if not THE best Special Teams players in ’16. He was often the first man to the ball carrier.

At the W position, he was buried behind E.S.B. and Miles Boykin. He did see the field sparingly at WR and made some nice plays. After making a spectacular diving catch on a verticle route in the 3rd quarter of the Michigan State game, he left many ND fans dying to see more.

Due to his size, skill set and production on Special Teams, many Irish fans mention that maybe he should be on defense. Claypool mentioned in an interview that Mike Elston said to him, “If you keep on making all those tackles on Special Teams, we’re going to have to put you on defense.”

Elston was kidding of course but Claypool would probably be a great pass rusher. Kelly has asked players to switch positions in the past (C.J. Procise, James Onwaulu). That being said, there’s been no signs thus far that he will play anything but WR.

Shortly after Signing Day last year, when asked if Claypool could play on defense, Brian Kelly stated they were committed to playing him at receiver.

This year, Kelly and Long must find a way to get him the ball. With an NFL body, good speed and great blocking ability, he’s too talented to keep on the sideline.

Look for him to move to X receiver. ESB, Alize Jones and Boykin will be at W. ESB will get the lions share of reps. At X receiver, there’s Kevin Stepherson and Javon McKinley, who’s coming off a broken leg. Brian Kelly needs more playmakers at that position and Claypool could be the guy.

Another aspect in regards to getting Claypool on the field is Chip Long’s offense. Long used a lot of odd-formations at Memphis used to create mismatches and confusion. Memphis often lined up with 2 or 3 tight ends or bunch/trips sets.

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Chip Long looks to run unbalanced formations to create confusion and advantages over the opposing defense. Considering Claypool’s size, creating mismatches will be key to playing time for him.

For example, lining up Claypool in the slot would be effective. A 5’11 nickelback would have a serious size advantage and a linebacker would likely get beat by his speed and athleticism.

Another example of how to use the size at WR is using bunch sets. E.S.B., Alize Jones and Chase Claypool lined up on the same side of the offense would be a nightmare for any defense.

It’s hard to say how things will shake out for Chase Claypool in ’17. There’s similar talent on the offense with Equanimeous St. Brown and Alize Jones. It’s only a matter of time before Claypool starts making big plays consistently for the Fighting Irish.