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Print

Steelers select Toney Clemons in seventh round

Posted Apr 28, 2012

2012 NFL Draft - Steelers Seventh Round Selection

TONEY CLEMONS
Wide Receiver
University of Colorado Buffaloes
6:02-210
New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Valley High School
7th Round – 231st Overall

CAREER NOTES
He finished 17th in all‐time receiving yards (1,162) and tied for 18th in all‐time receptions (86), with his 11 touchdown receptions tied for the ninth most. When he reached the 1,000‐yard plateau, he became the 22nd player in school annals to do so. His 11 touchdown catches covered 284 total yards, or 25.8 per score. He became the first player to play in the Big 10, Big 12 and Pac‐12 conferences in his career with CU’s switch to the latter in 2011. Played in 19 games and made three starts at Michigan in two seasons, earning a varsity letter both his freshman and sophomore campaigns. He caught 12 passes for 106 yards in his two years at Michigan.

2011 SEASON
He was named by the coaches as the co‐recipient (with QB Tyler Hansen) of CU’s John Mack Award as the team’s most outstanding offensive player, and also garnered second‐team All‐Colorado honors from the state’s NFF Chapter. The school’s beat media selected him as the annual recipient of the “Best Interview Award.” After the season, he played in the inaugural Player’s All‐Star Classic (Little Rock, Ark.), catching one pass for 20 yards and rushing once for one yard. He led the team in receiving yards (680) and was second in receptions (44), with his 15.8 average per catch second as well. His eight touchdown receptions was a team best and tied for the fourth‐most in a single season in Colorado history, at one point making at least one in four straight games, just one game shy of tying the school mark. He came on strong the last five games of the season (25 receptions, 476 yards, 19.0 per, 5 TDs), including three 100‐yard games (the first three of his career); he matched his career high of eight receptions at Arizona State (97 yards, 1 TD), then had five for 112 yards against USC (2 TD), followed by five for a career‐high 115 against Arizona (1 TD), three for 50 at UCLA (1 TD) and four for 102 in the season finale at Utah. He earned 29 first downs, eight on 14 third/fourth down receptions and 10 on 15 first down catches. He had 12 receptions over 20 yards and 26 that gained 10 or more. He had the highest kickoff return average on the team (23.8), though only returned four kicks, and had three knockdown blocks on special teams return unit duty. He saw limited action in the spring after suffering a strained hamstring the first day of practices (March 11); it hampered him through the spring and he was held out of the extended scrimmage action for precautionary reasons.

2010 SEASON
He played in all 12 games, including eight starts, in finishing second on the team in receptions (43), third in receiving yards (482) and fourth in average per catch (11.2); his three touchdowns were third. He have seven catches for 20 or more yards and 16 for 10 or longer, both second‐most by a Buff, and caught at least three balls in nine games and had one in 11 games (he was shut out at Nebraska). He had career highs of eight receptions for 98 yards against Texas Tech. He caught the bulk of his passes on third and fourth downs, with a team‐best 20 for 298 yards (14.9 per), as 16 of those receptions earned first downs. He caught a 73‐yard pass for a touchdown from Tyler Hansen on a third down play that put CU up 24‐13 early in the fourth quarter on the way to a 31‐13 win, the longest play from scrimmage for the Buffaloes in the 2010 season. His other touchdown catches came on throws from Cody Hawkins against Iowa State (26 yards) and Kansas State (23). Overall, he earned 25 first downs, fifth‐most on the team, 23 coming on receptions and two via the rush. He was second on the team in all‐purpose yards with 760, as he also returned 10 kickoffs for 255 yards (with a long of 53 at Missouri, when he returned three for 103 yards), rushed three times for 17 yards (long of 19 versus Baylor) and returned three punts for six yards. He caught four passes for 55 yards along with the touchdown against Iowa State to go with several downfield blocks in the running game; the coaches thus selected him as CU’s receiver of the game. The Big 12 media, ahead of the annual summer media days, selected him as the conference’s offensive newcomer of the year. The Sporting News tabbed him as one of two wide receivers on its All‐Spring Team, and was the publication’s number one player who helped himself the most in the spring. He was the Iron Buffalo Award winner among the team’s wide receivers for hard work, dedication, toughness and total poundage lifted in the weight room.

2009 SEASON
He sat out due to NCAA rules after transferring to Colorado from Michigan prior to the start of the fall semester, but practiced all fall at wide receiver. He was the Scout Team Offense player of the year as well as the STO player of the week for the Wyoming game. He was a recipient of the Gold Group Commitment Award, selected by the CU coaches, which recognizes excellence with class in a variety of areas.

2008 SEASON
As a sophomore in 2008, played nine games and made one start, hauling in 11 passes for 101 yards. He also had two rushes for six yards on laterals. He caught his career long pass, a 29‐yarder, against Michigan State setting up a key score in that game.

2007 SEASON
As a freshman in 2007, made his first career reception, and only one of the season, against Purdue and the play resulted in a five‐yard gain. He also played in the 2008 Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2008.

HIGH SCHOOL
He earned four‐star status and was ranked as the No. 10 wide receiver in the country by Scout.com. He was also a four‐star prospect by Rivals.com and was ranked the No. 12 receiver in the nation and the No. 3 player in the state of Pennsylvania. In his career, he had 100 receptions for 1,541 yards and 17 touchdowns. On defense, he produced eight interceptions, forced 13 fumbles and posted 217 tackles in his career. He also returned seven kicks for touchdowns, five punts and two kickoffs, in his career. As a senior, he was one of five finalists for the Gatorade Player of the Year in Pennsylvania after hauling in 39 passes for 665 yards and eight touchdowns for Valley High School under coach Troy Hill. He earned All‐State honors at both wide receiver and defensive back and was named to the Harrisburg PatriotNews “Platinum 33.” He also earned first‐team All‐Conference and was named to the Fab‐22 team by the Pittsburgh PostGazette his senior season. After his senior season, he was selected to participate in the East‐West game in Orlando. As a junior, he caught 43 passes for 666 yards and eight touchdowns and was named All‐State and earned All‐Conference mention as a wide receiver, defensive back, kick returner and punt returner and he was also named to the Pittsburgh PostGazette Fab‐22 team. His sophomore season he tallied 33 catches for 642 yards. He also participated in track and field and in 2006, he also earned two Class AA state championships – in the long hurdles and 110‐m high hurdles. He lettered four times in both track and field and basketball, where he owned a career scoring average of 15 points per game.

PERSONAL
Born October 11, 1988 in Pittsburgh. He enjoys writing, reading and making music in his spare time. His brother, Wes, played football at California University (Pa.) and his sisters, Mycah and Mycaiah, both run track at the University of Pittsburgh. His cousin, Steve Breaston, played football at Michigan and is a member of the Arizona Cardinals, and he lists Breaston as his favorite athlete. He is also a cousin of Swin Cash, who won two NCAA championships in basketball at Connecticut. Cash is currently a member of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and was the MVP of the 2009 WNBA All‐Star game, scoring an all‐star record 22 points in the process and she also owns an Olympic Gold Medal in basketball from Athens in 2004. He graduated with a degree in Sociology in December 2011. He was a two‐time recipient of the CU Gold Group Commitment Award (Fall 2009, Spring 2010), presented to those who have achieved “Excellence with Class” in their academic, athletic and personal lives.


* AUDIO: Toney Clemons Conference Call


Toney Clemons Conference Call Transcript

TONEY CLEMONS
Wide Receiver
7th Round – 231st Overall

How happy are you to be drafted by your local team?
It’s really a dream come true. I don’t know if there’s really a word out there to describe how I’m feeling. Maybe exuberant, maybe astonished, I can’t really put it into words, but it’s truly a blessing and that’s all I can say at the moment.

How much interest did you think the Steelers had going into the draft?
It was wishful thinking because I had a rough career, and I wasn’t sure how the Steelers felt about me.  They are a great organization and they have great talent on both sides of the ball, especially at my position, so this wasn’t a team I really thought was looking to take guys. Somebody there in that organization has faith in me and sees me as a valuable guy. I’m just happy that they felt the way they did about me enough to draft me.

You had three 100-yard games in the final four games of your career.  How much do you think it helped you in the draft?
It was huge for me because without those games, playing against those teams, and making plays the way I did against that top talent, I wouldn’t have even had a shot to be on anybody’s radar. I came out and helped myself by running pretty well. That was just one step of the puzzle. They had to go back and pull film of me against top talent, and it was evident on film that I can play. It’s a blessing for me.

You said you had a rough career.  Why?
I was a transfer and every year I had a different receivers coach, every year I had a different head coach.  Every year I was learning something different. I was new. I was starting over every single day, and every year. It just took me awhile to find myself. When I finally found myself in a system that had faith in me, I was able to go out there and perform.

What is your fastest 40 time?
At the pro day on our lasers it was a 4.36 at Colorado. I’m not sure what the scouts clocked me at, but hopefully it was in the 4.4 range. I never really got official results from them. The results I have gotten back from the laser and photos were a 4.36.

Are you related to Steve Breaston? Do you think he had an influence on the Steelers’ decision to draft you?
Yes, second cousin. Yes, Steve was a big influence. I think Steve is one of the guys that has his own award room for me. He and Coach Haley have a great relationship, and he loves that guy. I’m sure Coach Haley feels highly about Steve. I got to meet Coach Haley and we discussed Steve a lot. I know Coach Haley is one of the best in the league at what he does, coaching guys up. I’m just thrilled that he felt what he has seen on film was good enough to be a Pittsburgh Steeler because that’s not an easy task.

Who is faster, you or Steve?
I’m going to say Steve is faster than me. We always wanted to race, but he’s always in season, and out of season he doesn’t really like to run a lot. Maybe one day we’ll get to settle that and find out. With me being the younger cousin and him being the older cousin, I’m going to say Steve has the upper hand in that.


* VIDEO: Wide Receivers Coach Scottie Montgomery on Toney Clemons


Wide Receivers Coach Scottie Montgomery on Toney Clemons Transcript

What can you tell us about the local guy?
First, it’s a pleasure to be back in this time of year and get a great player and new personality to bring back to our room. I’m happy about him and who he is as a football player. We have had the ability to have him in the building to sit with several coaches. I thought he was a young man that was hungry for an opportunity. He had the film as of late to back that up. He’s a guy that over the last three to four games at Colorado really showed to be a productive receiver. He can catch the ball, has nice range. What I really like about him is his unique combination of size and speed, especially right now where we are at and what we are talking about taking this guy and just being very lucky of getting a guy of this caliber at this time.

Does he run a 4.37?
I can’t get into the people who were holding the clocks for the 4.37. I heard maybe more of a mid 4.4 guy. He did run exceptionally well during some workouts. I just really like to evaluate him off the film and what the scouting department brings me. As for the measurements of running and jumping, I like the guy. I was really, really happy with what we saw on film.

There is a wide-open roster spot. Usually that is filled early, were you expecting to get him this late?
He was a guy that we were all crossing our fingers on. The personality that this guy has, you have to have his personality to come into our room and be successful. Sometimes when you address that situation at different times in the draft it is not always a successful outcome for the room and the team. We crossed our fingers about this young man; it had nothing to do with him being local, that is an added bonus. I think that he is an outstanding player; I can’t say that he is going to fit that open spot. There is a lot of talent that is going to be in that room and I’m going to generate as much competition in those young men from one-to-eight as possible. That is what we do. It is going to be competitive and he’s going to have to understand that he is stepping into a very competitive environment immediately.

Re: On his personality:
It is a room that is going to challenge you to compete, but most of the time it is going to challenge receivers that can’t come in and compete on a daily basis. We grade them all the time, on each play. For him to be successful with those guys that are in the room now they are going to challenge each other. Sometimes I don’t even have to say a word because the challenge is there. I will stir and create competition when I need to. I look forward to see him just because of his confidence standpoint, in the room with the rest of those young men.

Was size a prerequisite for the wide receiver position?
I would like to sit here and say I take the best player at all times no matter what, and luckily I can sit here and say we took the best player at all times no matter what.  Like I said before, he is an outstanding player.  His size was a bonus.  I would be lying if I sat here and said that isn’t something people talk about.  It’s a situation that has to be addressed from time to time.  I’m not locked into any size.  If there would have been an unbelievable player that was under six feet, we would have had to take a real look at him. 

What is the dynamic going to be like in the locker room without Hines Ward?
That is something that is unknown for me because of not only the relationship my guys had with Hines, but also the relationship I had with Hines.  It’s a very unique relationship to be able to come in a coach a guy that is like a 22-year old man when he is truly a 35-year old man that was actually older than me.  He allowed me to do that and because of that, the young guys around him really looked at that.  Watching him being able to get coached when he made a mistake, that was the biggest deal.  When he made a mistake I treated him just like I would treat Antonio Brown.  That is a different dynamic.  People wouldn’t believe that and think that we would go at guys like that, but it happened very seldom because he was good with handling his business.  It will be different and it will be sad, because now I will get the blunt of all the old man jokes.  It’s going to definitely be different.

Have you talked to Mike Wallace lately?
Of course I’ve talked to Mike Wallace.  When he shows up to get coached, I’ll coach him.  As for the business part of it, I’ll let someone else handle that.  I think that’s a little above my pay grade.  I’ll just coach him when he gets here.

Can Mike Wallace let the business end go once he gets back in here?
When it’s time for him to play and practice I’ll be ready for him to be here.  That’s all I can say about it right now.  I don’t know anything else besides he does want to be coached and I want to coach him.  Hopefully from a business stand point, that will get taken care of.

What kind of offense do they run at Colorado and how was he used?
The offense he showed up in, I was very, very happy to see him utilized in a lot of different situations.  Not just down the field and not just in short throws, but just as far as getting him the ball.  The one unique thing is, I saw him win those last four or five ball games.  I watched him early too.  A lot of people wondered where he was going and where he was coming from.  In those last games, there was something that stood out to me and it’s something I put a high-grading value on, he won a tremendous amount of contested battles.  In contested battles at his size and speed in the National Football League is something that he is going to have to deal with.  That was the thing.  Not so much the offense he was in, but the contested battles he was in.  That speaks to the trust the coaching staff at the University of Colorado had in Toney.

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