March 4, 2011

CMU after UofD Jesuit QB Brian Cleary

The Mid-American Conference has often been referred to as a quarterback league, with so many signal callers have successful careers in college and then in the NFL. Over the last few years, Central Michigan has seen two of their most successful quarterbacks move on in Dan LeFevour and Brian Brunner, and they have made it a point to add talent to the position over the years. Under head coach Dan Enos, the Chippewas have added one freshman quarterback in the last two recruiting classes, with Kyle Smith in 2010 and Alex Niznak in 2011. And that same strategy is being applied to the 2012 recruiting class, where CMU has early offers out to several quarterbacks. The latest? Detroit (Mich.) Jesuit signal caller Brian Cleary, who has seen his stock rise after an impressive performance at the Adidas Maximum Exposure Camp.

"Right now I just have offers from Central Michigan and Toledo, with a lot of other schools giving me looks. I am just focused on putting my name out there and seeing what schools I hear from," said Cleary. "Miami (OH) and MSU have shown some interest. I'm probably going camping there this summer and just see what they're all about."

With Central Michigan and Toledo leading the race with early offers, Cleary has started to get familiar and find out more about both schools. Last weekend he visited Toledo for Junior Day and he has a March 19th date set to visit Central Michigan.

"This last weekend I went to Toledo's Junior Day, and it went great, but I'm curious to see how Central stacks up to those facilities. I'm definitely looking forward to sitting in on their meetings and experience the spring ball practices" said Cleary on his visit to Toledo.

And he has seen an increased recruiting effort from CMU recently and he is intrigued by what the Chippewas can offer.

"I talked to QB coach late last week, and I talk to Coack (Mike) Cummings a couple times a month. I haven't been there before besides just driving through, so I haven't seen the facilities, I just hear talk about them. I want to talk more to the coaches, I really enjoy talking to them," explained Cleary. "I'm going their March 19th for a meeting, I think we are just going to sit down and talk about everything. Also I plan to go there for their spring game."
The 6-foot-3 and 205 pound Cleary has tons of experience and finished up a solid junior season in which he threw for 1,380 yards and 13 touchdowns, with only 2 interceptions. Even more impressive is that Cleary has started every game at quarterback for UofD Jesuit since he was just a freshman.

"My strengths is just that I have a lot of experience. Going into my senior season I have 26 varsity starts in the Catholic League, which is one of the best. I'm just prepared and can make all the throws. I still can get better arm strength, like my deep ball was a little weak but has gotten a lot better," said Cleary. "My weakness is that I need to run more, and I just need to continue to get stronger."

With Cleary being in the Catholic League, he will face and has played many talent recruits. For example, 2011 CMU linebacker commit Tim Hamilton went to Birmingham Brother Rice and 2010 running back commitment Anthony Garland went to Ferndale, both opponents of Cleary last year. Hamilton and Brother Rice would get the best of Cleary and UofD Jesuit 21-0, but Cleary would lead his team to a 14-13 win over Ferndale.

"I have played against a lot of recruits and current players. Like Tim Hamilton we talked before and after but mostly during," laughed Cleary. "Being in Catholic League there are a lot of good teams. This next year we have a chance to show who we are like brother rice. All teams are vulnerable, the atmosphere is great and I think we can really shock some people next year."

As for what the future plans hold, Cleary just remains focused on what he can do to improve and become known.

"I'm just going to wait it out and see what coaches reach out to me, as I continue to send tapes out," said Cleary. "I went to Rutgers a couple weeks ago for their 7-on-7. I'm going to Indiana and Ann Arbor for their 7-on-7's as well. Then hopefully I get the chance to play in the National Championship of 7-on-7. I also will go to Elite 11 in Columbus to compete against some of the best players. Then this summer I'll be camping all over the place. I will go to Michigan, MSU, Central, Northwestern, and just a lot of other camps. I will probably just wait until Signing Day. I just hope this time next year, I am just at a program I can just walk into and enjoy playing at."

Everyone has that player they look to base their game off when we were younger, and hoped to emulate in ways. For Cleary, it's Brady Quinn and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who took completely different routes to the same place.

"When I was younger I liked Notre Dame football, so Brady Quinn is a guy I tried to base my game off. Another person I really look to base my game off is Ryan Fitzpatrick. He was roommates with my brother in college at Harvard. I liked the way he worked his way up and just how gritty he is, and how hardworking he is to work his way up to the NFL. I would rather be like Vick and Brady but that is more realistic."

Brian Cleary holds offers from Central Michigan and Toledo.

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