The Pittsburgh Steelers’ second-round draft pick, Chase Claypool, has a unique background that could make him a strong offensive weapon as a rookie during the 2020 NFL season. The 6-foot-4 wide receiver out of Notre Dame was selected with the 49th overall pick on draft night.
Claypool’s Childhood in British Columbia
Claypool was born and raised in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He grew up loving football and began playing just for fun.
“I grew up a CFL fan, but I always watched NFL so I was more a fan of the players than anything,” Claypool said.
Claypool wore the number 21 on his jersey throughout most of his youth football career to mimic LaDainian Tomlinson, one of his favorite running backs.
Despite Claypool’s love for football, he was more interested in his basketball career when he entered high school. He was averaging 47 points in AAU basketball games before he decided during his junior year that he would focus on football.
The wide receiver assumed he would go on to play U Sports Football, Canada’s version of NCAA. However, when Claypool decided to post his football highlights to Facebook, he immediately received scholarship offers from several well-known American universities.
Oregon, Washington, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Michigan and Notre Dame were among the schools to show interest in Claypool.
Notre Dame’s Star Wide Receiver
Upon entering his freshman year at Notre Dame, Claypool was primarily a special teams player. He led the Fighting Irish in special teams tackles that year with 11.
Claypool ended his sophomore season ranked second on the team in receptions (29) and receiving yards (402). He started in eight games.
The standout athlete finished his junior season with 50 receptions for 639 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
In 2019, Claypool led Notre Dame in receptions (66), yards (1,037) and touchdowns (13). He played in each of the 13 games making up his senior season.
The Notre Dame wide receiver was also named Camping World Bowl MVP in 2019. He caught seven passes for 146 yards and scoring one touchdown in the Fighting Irish’s win over Iowa.
“The way he really impressed us was his competitiveness,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly told the media. “Certainly, there’s a lot of guys that can run and catch, but we loved the way he competed. We felt, for us, it was a wide receiver with great size and great potential, and hats off to him. He realized that potential.”
From Second Round Draft Pick to NFL Rookie
On draft night, Claypool surrounded himself by friends and family who were able to share the exciting experience with him.
“All my friends and family over here are pumped, you know, they couldn’t get the smile off their face just like me,” Claypool said. “They’re super excited for me to go to a pretty historic franchise.”
— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) April 25, 2020
Claypool will make his debut with the Steelers this fall wearing number 11 and is slated to get some time on the field as a rookie.
“He might come in and carve out a significant role for himself,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said to a member of Steelers Nation Unite. “I want Chase to know that there are no glass ceilings in terms of what he can do and be here for us.”
Featured Image Courtesy of Fighting Irish Wire
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