Just like 'Ice Man' in the classic 1986 Tom Cruise movie Top Gun, aspiring NFL quarterback and former Notre Dame player Jimmy Clausen is ice cold, especially when under duress. He makes few mistakes when under pressure and waits for unsuspecting DBs to slip up or miss a step before capitalizing on their mishaps.
Clausen, who decided to forgo his senior season at Notre Dame for an opportunity at achieving his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL, has faced scrutiny about his personality for years.
Some thought he was too cocky, like Taylor Mays. The former USC star said he thought Clausen was "a little bitch" before he played the Irish QB this past season. This judgement was passed after Mays watched the 2008 Hawaii Bowl highlights where Clausen made an aloha sign after throwing a touchdown pass to Golden Tate. That perception changed after Mays began working out with Clausen while training for the NFL combine.
Others thought he was a poor leader. Todd McShay, self-proclaimed football guru and inexplicably employed by ESPN, has not been shy about his feelings on Clausen's leadership skills. He and Mel Kiper Jr., an actual football guru, debated the subject at length in a segment aired on ESPN before the NFL combine. But former teammates along with Kiper, Jr. have defended Clausen as a strong leader.
No one questions his mechanics, though. As you will see in the ESPN article featured here Clausen meticulously practiced and perfected his throwing mechanics with veritable quarterback genius Steve Clarkson, who has tutored the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Leinart, J.P. Losman, and Matt Barkley. This will also be a feature article in April 19 issue of ESPN the Magazine.
One question remains - where will Clausen be locked and loaded in the 2010 NFL draft? As ice cold as he is, Clausen likely does not care where he winds up just so long as he gets a chance to play in the pros unlike his brothers.