The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


November 11, 2013

Clayman makes change

Former Dragon makes splash as a Gator

When former Lakeside football and baseball star Frankie Clayman made the decision to go to Mount Vernon Nazarene University to play baseball after his days with the Dragons, it seemed like a perfect fit.

The blazing-fast Clayman had double digits in triples as a senior baseball player at Lakeside and Mount Vernon was known for its strong baseball program.

One thing was missing for Clayman, though — his love and passion for the game of football.

So after injuring his rotator cuff following fall ball and some scrimmages, Clayman decided it was time to return to football, leading to a transfer to Allegheny College.

“It just felt more like my thing,” he said. “I love to lift (weights) and as a baseball player, I couldn’t lift heavy anymore so I missed that. And there’s just nothing like football. Baseball is one of those games you can get back to when you’re older. But, football, once it’s over, it’s over.”

Not to the surprise of anyone who saw him play in high school, the running back made a quick impression on the Gators.

After starting the season as a kick returner, by Week 5 Clayman was Allegheny’s starting running back and had amassed a total of 300 yards through five games.

“I was starting out as a kick and punt returner,” he said. “On Week 5, I got the starting running back role and I was named our offensive player of the week. So I was named the starter for Week 6.”

Then, adversity struck Clayman once again.

Looking to make a cut during practice, he planted his foot and he felt two pops in his knee.

“Right off the bat, I thought it was my ACL, it was my biggest fear,” he said.

Unfortunately, Clayman was right.

The newly named Gators starting running back tore his ACL and MCL, ending his freshman football campaign.

“I have a really good attitude about the whole thing,” he said of the recovery process. “It’s really hard hearing that and thinking that maybe it’s going to take a year to recover. I had a bad attitude at first, I kept asking myself, ‘why me?’ But after some time, I said I was ready to take this on and get better from this.

“I’m going to take this time to work on things, get my upper body real strong. Eventually, I’ll be working my legs out and plan on coming back better than I was. I want to be faster and strong than the day before I got hurt.”

While Clayman has been able to keep a positive outlook about the injury, he did say it was tough to accept at first given the amount of work he had put into getting back on the gridiron.

“That’s part of the reason it hurt so bad, all throughout camp I worked so hard and I was coming in as a freshmen for football (sophomore academically) so I was coming in at the very bottom,” he said. “They already had double digit running backs so I had to work throughout camp and every game just to earn a chance. I earned my spot and to have this injury happen at this time it makes you feel helpless.

“It was though, but I have good attitude about it and I’m psyched to recover. It feels so much better now, I’m gimping around a little bit just walking around my dorm room and I can gimp and put some weight on it. It’s going good.”

Clayman had surgery on Oct. 15, just six days after the injury occurred.

So far, Clayman said all signs point to him being ready to go on opening day of 2014.

“The surgery went really well,” he said. “I just had my first physical therapy session and my trainer thinks I’m ahead of schedule and should be ready for Week 1.”

Despite the injury, Clayman said it felt great to be back on the football field.

“It was great, there’s really nothing that compares to playing football,” he said. “It’s such an adrenaline rush. There’s nothing to compare to it, it’s just the greatest feeling in the world and that’s why I came back to football. It was worth coming back to even with the injury. I’m excited to come back and get that opportunity to play again next year.”

Allegheny originally recruited the 2012 Lakeside graduate out of high school, which was part of the reason why he made the decision to transfer.

The Gators haven’t experienced much success this season, but Clayman said the young roster shows plenty of promise for the future.

“We have got a lot of young talent,” he said. “Our starting quarterback was a freshman as well so we had a starting running back and quarterback who are both freshman. We’ve got good talent, We’re all freshmen, sophomores and juniors so we’ll return everyone except one lineman. I think we’re going to come back pretty strong.”

Clayman said he feels at home at Allegheny.

“Out of high school when coach was recruiting me as a football player, I thought I just wanted to play baseball, so I didn’t look much into it,” he said. “Then I realized I wanted to play football so I contacted him and he said we’d love to have you here. I fell in love with the team and all that. It’s been a good fit, I like it a lot here. The school is a big improvement for me.

“Everything that I didn’t feel right about last year feels right here.”

Text Only
  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Don A Don McCormack column: A heartfelt plea to curb violence

    Like everyone who loves soccer — and the rest of us whose interest level rises dramatically every four years when the World Cup comes around — Kevin Meier was appalled at the recent attack of soccer referee John Bieniewicz in Michigan by a player that resulted in Bieniewicz tragically dying.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video