MANHATTAN, Kan. - Appearing comfortable in his new home, Adrian Clayborn stood out at the Manhattan NIKE camp.
Clayborn, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end prospect from Webster Groves, Mo., is in the process of making a position transition.
"Originally I am a linebacker," Clayborn said. "I have never played defensive end until now. I'm going to be there this fall though. I think the quickness I have from being a linebacker is one of my biggest assets as I rush the passer and try to beat the offensive lineman."
Many other campers agreed with Clayborn's assessment of his best attribute.
"Clayborn was quick," Elkhorn, Neb. offensive lineman Cole Bunner said. "I had a lot of weight on him, but his quickness and speed was what stood out about him. His first step was quick and you had to be ready for him or he'd be by you. I slowed him down some and felt like I had given it all I had."
Oklahoma City (Okla.) Putnam City North's Myron McKinney went up against Clayborn in the one-on-one drills, a match-up that caused college scouts to stop writing notes and just watch.
"I was ready for him," McKinney said. "I had been watching him when it wasn't my turn. You could tell he was going to be a good one after the first time he went in the drills. I watched him looking for something that he did every time and it wasn't consistent. He changed it up and came at you from several different ways. Then with the quickness on top of you guessing how he is coming at you, he was a handful."
Topeka (Kan.) Hayden coach Tom Stringer coached the offensive linemen as part of the NIKE camp. Even he came away impressed with the talented Clayborn as he watched his pupils go against him.
"Clayborn is one that stood out to me," Stringer said. "He is very athletic. He is fast off the ball. To me he is one of those guys who is just electric. He causes problems. It was fun to watch him against the better guys we had on the offensive line. He is one of the players at this camp that you know can play after just a short amount of time watching them."
Clayborn continually used his quickness and strength to dominate in the one-on-one drills at the end of the camp. Only twice did the pre-evaluation Rivals100 selection nearly get held up from reaching the tackling dummy in the pass rush/blocking drills. And, even on those two, he still reached his target.
"I feel like I performed well," he said. "The one-on-ones I think I did a good job of getting past the linemen. My position coach kept trying to help me get better and the moves, which was great. He kept offering me tips and I want to try to use them to become a better player. This whole camp was a good experience. There was talent all around to go up against and the coaches we worked with knew what they were talking about. We even had some former college players to help us in some of the drills."
One of the former players was former Kansas State end Kevin Huntley. Clayborn said Huntley offered him some good advice about positioning his body prior to the snap of the ball.
"Coach Huntley was really good to work with," Clayborn said. "He has played big-time college ball in the Big 12 Conference. He gave me some tips on keeping my head straight and he taught me a new stance that helped me get off the ball a little quicker. All of that stuff, with me being new to starting off as a down lineman, will be good for me to know."
Clayborn tried not to allow himself to get caught up with the college coaches that were around, but he admits he did notice them.
"I tried to not think about them," he said. "I saw them throughout the day and I know there were several here as we went against the offensive line. But, I didn't let that cause me to go faster or harder or anything. I just gave it my all on every play."
Clayborn has received four scholarship offers to date, but that will likely change after his performance on Saturday.
"I have scholarship offers from Missouri, Kansas, Michigan State and Illlinois," he said. "There are some others that have been sending me mail like Kansas State, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin."
Clayborn believes his college home as far as position goes will be defensive end.
"I think my home is at end now. I like playing there, and with my size, I can handle the position. Being that close to the other side of the ball, you hit the other guy so much quicker and being able to hit them is what I like. Hopefully, I showed some coaches first hand that I can play that position."
During his junior season, Clayborn finished with 78 tackles and one quarterback sack at middle linebacker.
"I'm hoping the sack number can go up," he said. "If I can use my speed and quickness, I should be able to get around the end and get to the quarterback from the end position. I'll continue to work and take the tips that I got during the camp and try to become a better player."