Theismann: Clausen should stay at ND

Updated: October 7, 2009, 12:24 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Now that Jimmy Clausen is filling expectations at the University of Notre Dame and climbing his way up the list of Heisman hopefuls, former Irish legend Joe Theismann is a believer. But Theismann doesn't want Clausen thinking about leaving school early for the NFL.

"I would tackle him if he tried to leave the university and come out this year," Theismann said on the "Waddle & Silvy" show on ESPN 1000.

"Jimmy Clausen, I hope, has proven to a lot of people that he's one heck of a young quarterback," Theismann said. "I mean, Jimmy is like Jay Cutler to me. They both have grown up and come to understand that you don't always have to make all the plays, but when your moment comes and that opportunity presents itself for you to have to step up, you can get it done."

The junior quarterback has led Notre Dame to a 4-1 record and is leading the country in passing efficiency at 179.3, to go along with 12 touchdown passes and two interceptions.

"He's learned how to be a leader," Theismann said. "He's certainly handled all kinds of pressure well.

"[But Clausen] has work to do. I'm not happy with the way he throws the fades. I think he needs to be able to be able to throw the ball down the field more efficiently. His delivery is a little bit unorthodox, but we have a lot of guys in this game with unorthodox deliveries that have done well."

Theismann likes the direction the Irish are headed.

"If you look at the Notre Dame football team, they have a chance to really be able to do something special a part of this year and I believe all of next year," Theismann said. "You get [Michael Floyd] and [Golden Tate] and Jimmy together, and how about [Kyle] Rudolph at tight end, I mean you're talking about an offense that has been quite prolific. That really can be so much better next year.

"Plus why would Jimmy Clausen want to come out when he's faced with Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow. You've got Colt McCoy, you've got all these guys coming out this year. Stay in [school]."

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