Glassboro's Clement chasing South Jersey history

Posted: October 19, 2012

Lots of guys have run faster than Corey Clement.

Just three in South Jersey history have ever run farther with a football in their hands.

And Clement is about to pass all of them.

"I try not to think about records," Clement, a Glassboro senior, said of his approach to the top spot in the South Jersey record book for career rushing yards. "To me, that would be selfish. Maybe when my career is over, I can look back and think about some of my accomplishments.

"If I set the record, it will be great because it's about my team. I never would have done anything without my teammates."

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Clement enters Friday night's home game against Highland with 5,164 rushing yards. He needs 217 yards to pass former Ocean City star Kevin Sinclair's all-time mark of 5,380, set in 1996.

Currently fourth on South Jersey's all-time list, Clement also is about to pass former Paulsboro star and active Pittsburgh Steeler Isaac Redman (5,255) and former Moorestown star Albert Young (5,376), both of whom were seniors during the 2002 season.

The state record is 7,589 yards, set by Hopatcong High School's Joe Martinek in 2006.

"I don't play the game of football to set records," Clement said. "To me, it's team first and records last."

Clement, who has made an oral commitment to the University of Pittsburgh, set the South Jersey single-season record for rushing yards with 2,510 in 2011.

He said he was driven to work harder than ever in the offseason to follow up on his breakout junior year.

"The thing I didn't want was for people to think I was lucky or maybe I ran into a bunch of teams having bad years," Clement said. "I wanted to prove that it wasn't a fluke. I wanted to do even better this season."

Clement said before the season that he hoped to run for 3,000 yards. He's a little off that pace with 1,242 yards in Glassboro's first five games, although he has gained speed in recent weeks.

Clement set the South Jersey single-game record with 478 yards on Sept. 28 against Gloucester. If he passes Sinclair, he would hold the Triple Crown of South Jersey rushing records: most yards in a game, season and career.

"The first thing with Corey is that he's selfless," Glassboro coach Mark Maccarone said. "He puts the team ahead of any personal accomplishments. His goal is for us to win a [South Jersey Group 1] championship. Everything else is second."

Clement is fast, but he's not track-star fast. Maccarone said former Glassboro star P.J. James, now a redshirt freshman at Rutgers, has more "top-end" speed than Clement.

Numerous running backs in South Jersey history have had more straight-line speed than Clement.

But there were a lot of NFL running backs with more straight-line speed than former Dallas Cowboys star Emmitt Smith, too.

Like Smith, Clement has uncanny vision, patience, and balance. He has a rare blend of power and quickness. And he has confidence - nearly every step he takes with a football under his arm has purpose.

"He has vision unlike any back I've ever seen," Maccarone said. "He can see the hole opening up before anybody else. He can make you miss. And he also can run over you."

Penns Grove coach Kemp Carr said Clement's change of direction is special.

"He makes cuts other backs don't make," Carr said.

Clement hasn't been slow, but he has been sure and strong and steady. And he's about to go farther than any running back in South Jersey history.


Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports

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