Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

March 20, 2014

Clements becomes Lion

PRINCETON — A 6’5 Zen Clements was a nice target and a key part of Princeton’s flexbone offense this past season. Thursday afternoon the Tiger signed to play football for the Concord University Mountain Lions.

“I had to really decide what was the best place for me,” Clements said. “From the first time I visited Concord I just felt at home and liked it the best.

“I went to a couple of game day visits. I enjoyed being around the team in the locker room. Coach Justice is a real easy going guy and the whole coaching staff. I just like being around them.”

While he played receiver and tight end at Princeton, Clements said he will be a tight end at the collegiate level. Tigers’ head coach Randy Peek talked about what Clements meant to this year’s team.

“We didn’t throw the ball a lot, but he played wide receiver, tight end for us, did an excellent job on the edge, set the edge for us in the flexbone triple option,” Peek said. “Without him and Kirkland Perdue, our other receiver, our running backs would not have had the yards they had. When we did throw it, he made big-time catches. Against Bluefield he made the one in the back of the end zone that started the comeback.”

 According to Clements and his parents, there were other colleges interested, but when it came decision time, Concord came out on top.

“I told my parents all along I wanted to play somewhere in-state, to be relatively close to home,” Clements said. “It’s great to be this close and then on a team as good as Concord, I feel like it’s going to be really good.”

Zen’s mother, Cynthia, said, “It’s really good. He had some really good choices and we knew whichever direction he went, he really couldn’t make a mistake. We do feel really good about Concord.”

Father Ted Clements added, “We both went there and we can go see his games.”

The younger Clements, a member of the Tigers’ basketball team, decided to focus on football in college and he talked of who he looked up to on the gridiron.

“I was always a WVU fan. I liked a lot of their players,” Clements said. “I tried to base a lot of my game play off of Jimmy Graham, he plays tight end for the Saints and a lot of people say I look like him.”

His final two years at Princeton were under the program of Peek. Clements spoke of his high school gridiron experience of the past two seasons.

“I just love to play and getting the chance to play is great,” Clements said. “The coaching staff, I love the coaching staff, everyone does. They’ve installed a hard work ethic into the players and we are able to get a lot more done.”

Peek added, “He’s an athlete. I’m sure Coach Justice will be able to use him. He’s a big kid, big frame, he can put on a little more weight. Coach will probably use him at tight end and he would put some stresses on corners with his size. A receiver that big in that conference could do very well.”

Clements plans to major in biology at CU and he talked about life after school.

“I hope to complete my degree at Concord and then go to graduate school to either study physical therapy, something in the medical field, exercise physiology,” Clements said.

“I just feel blessed to get an opportunity to play at the next level.

“I’m going to do what I can to make the best out of it.”

— Contact Bob Redd at bredd@bdtonline.com

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