This is the fifth in a series of mini-profiles The Oregonian is publishing on high school football players expected to sign with Oregon State. National signing day is Feb. 5. Name: Drew Clarkson Hometown: Camas, Wash. Position: Offensive lineman Height: 6-foot-3 Weight: 275 High school: Camas Beavers fans should be excited because: Even if he's still a year or two away from contributing on Saturdays, Drew Clarkson owns this Oregon State recruiting class' most compelling storyline. Last March, the 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive lineman discovered a cancerous tumor on his right testicle. He had surgery. He underwent four rounds of Chemotherapy. He lost his hair. He struggled to walk. Yet there Clarkson was little more than half a year later, captaining undefeated Camas to Washington's 4A state championship game in the Tacoma Dome. The senior, who returned to the Papermakers' lineup four games into the season, estimates he never felt more than 75 percent healthy. Still, he dominated. Settling back in at the crucial left tackle spot, Clarkson helped key a pass-heavy Camas attack. He blocked athletic defensive ends with relative ease, using his unique combination of speed, heft and intellect to outmaneuver opponents. Though Clarkson lacked the stamina his senior season to regularly play both ways, Papermakers coach Jon Eagle said, he filled in on the defensive line during pivotal short-yardage situations. "He's got a real passion for the game," Eagle said. "He's got a passion for strength training. That combination gets him to where he is today." The details of Clarkson's tale are the stuff of cinema: the OSU scholarship offer he received in a Chemo chair, the weight-lifting sessions throughout his recovery, the grassroots campaign he started to raise testicular cancer awareness. Of course, Clarkson wants more than a feel-good story. He wants to develop into a Pac-12 contributor; someone who can provide the ground-level grit that allows the Beavers' pro-style offense to thrive. It seems a realistic aim. Clarkson, a three-star recruit who is somewhat undersized for a big-conference lineman, boasts highly refined footwork. He understands how to establish the proper positioning on a block, and he has the quickness necessary to get there. "Big guys that are strong are a dime a dozen," Eagle said. "Big guys that can run are the ones that excite football coaches. You've got to have the feet." Clarkson, a three-sport athlete much of his high school career, honed his footwork in basketball and rugby. But his passion lies on the gridiron, where he earned second-team all league at left guard as a sophomore before making the first team at left tackle as a junior. "Throughout my recovery, I wanted to play my senior season," Clarkson said. "That was pretty much the main goal. I wanted to play my senior season."
Signing Day Countdown: Oregon State commit Drew Clarkson
Oregonian | Jan 28