Virginia Tech v Boston College
Eight notable Chicago-area players in the NFL draft:
LB/DE Michael Buchanan
LB Nick Clancy, Boston
College, Joliet Catholic
OT Emmett Cleary, Boston
College, St. Viator
DT Garrett Goebel, Ohio State,
OL Graham Pocic, Illinois,
DE Sean Progar, Northern
Illinois, Glenbrook South
DB Supo Sanni, Illinois,
OT Patrick Ward,
Updated: May 13, 2013 6:48AM
It didn’t take long for Nick Clancy, a standout linebacker from Joliet Catholic, to discover ways to rattle his roommate at Boston College, Emmett Cleary, an offensive tackle from East Suburban Catholic Conference foe St. Viator.
“When we first moved into the dorms … I had on my desk my state championship ring in its case open for everybody to see,” a laughing Clancy said. “He was like, ‘You better put that thing away before I throw that out the window.’ ”
There also was a DVD of Joliet Catholic’s title run.
But, “thankfully, he lost that DVD at some point,” Cleary said.
That’s how their journey as college football players began. Now, they’re NFL prospects, and on Friday, their path to reaching the NFL comes back home.
Clancy and Cleary are some of the area players the Bears are hosting at their local pro day at Halas Hall. As a linebacker and an offensive lineman, respectively, Clancy and Cleary also play positions the Bears will undoubtedly be focusing on.
“I’ve known Nick since I was 16,” Cleary said. “The journey we’ve had … if we were to cap it off by having careers in the NFL that would be crazy — fantastic.”
Clancy (Texas vs. The Nation) and Cleary (Raycom Classic) were both invited to postseason All-Star games, but only Cleary went to the combine in Indianapolis. Cleary definitely thought Clancy was slighted. After all, Clancy was a first-team All-ACC linebacker despite Boston College’s 2-10 season.
“Athletically, he’s all there,” Cleary said. “I saw the production last year when he got his chance to play. There were some injuries inside [on the defensive line] and we weren’t able to protect him when we needed, but he made all the plays that came to him.”
Before his senior season, Clancy was caught behind middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. Kuechly was the Carolina Panthers’ top pick in 2012 and was named Rookie of the Year.
“There’s no shame in being caught behind Luke Kuechly,” Cleary said.
Clancy said he’s knows he was “under the radar.”
“I definitely have a chip on my shoulder knowing that I have to prove myself more than [other linebackers],” Clancy said. “And I’m OK with that.”
Clancy (6-3, 232 pounds) and Cleary (6-7, 315 pounds) have focused on specific things to improve their standing. Cleary, a projected late-round pick, has worked on his quickness and flexibility. He played both tackle positions at Boston College and has the versatility teams covet.
“Most [teams] are pretty confident that, at the very least, I’m a right tackle,” said Cleary, who has drawn interest from the Bears, New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts and others. “Most think left, but some would say right. But I do think it brings value that I can play inside too.”
Clancy’s draft process was sidetracked when he broke his forearm practicing for the Texas vs. The Nation game. A solid pro day in the agility and position drills helped, but he wanted a better performance in the 40-yard dash. Clancy isn’t one to make excuses, but his injury significantly cut into his training. He said he’ll run the 40 for the Bears “just to show them I was a lot faster than my time at the pro day.”
He’ll likely succeed too. When given the chance, Clancy simply produces. He finished third in the nation in tackles (145) in 2012.
“The motivation is there,” said Clancy, whose agent has been contacted by several teams. “The want to is there. I’m confident.”
Cleary and Clancy never got a chance to face each other in high school.
The goal now is finally do it in the NFL.
But until then, they’ll rely on their high schools for bragging rights. St. Viator won the last meeting.
“There’s not many opportunities to knock Joliet Catholic,” Cleary said. “So I take them when I can.”