The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Colorado wide receiver Toney Clemons in the 7th round with the 231st pick of the 2012 NFL draft.
Clemons was a reliable starter after transferring from Michigan. He is a huge and athletic receiver in the mold of Anquan Boldin. He has the same body type and strong base, and can go across the middle, using his core strength to break arm tackles and get upfield. Clemons has some value as a returner but would be merely serviceable in that role as a pro. Clemons has sixth-round value based on his potential to become a solid NFL pass-catcher.
Clemons is polished as a runner, able to get into a cornerback\’s cushion off the line. He can break tackles after the catch and is productive at running drive routes across the field. He can catch a quick slant, break a tackle on a smaller corner, then look to run over a safety. He has the speed to be a deceptive deep threat and knows how to work underneath and sit down against zone coverage.
Clemons has had issues dropping the ball. He is confident, but struggles to catch the ball with his hands and bring it into his frame. He is a physical blocker but can be too aggressive and a liability there at times.
AT COLORADO: Career Notes—He finished 17th in all-time receiving yards (1,162) and tied for 18th in all-time receptions (86), with his 11 touchdown receptions tied for the ninth most. When he reached the 1,000-yard plateau, he became the 22nd player in school annals to do so. His 11 touchdown catches covered 284 total yards, or 25.8 per score. He became the first player to play in the Big 10, Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences in his career with CU’s switch to the latter in 2011.
2011 (Sr.)— He was named by the coaches as the co-recipient (with QB Tyler Hansen) of CU’s John Mack Award as the team’s most outstanding offensive player, and also garnered second-team All-Colorado honors from the state’s NFF Chapter. The school’s beat media selected him as the annual recipient of the “Best Interview Award.” After the season, he played in the inaugural Player’s All-Star Classic (Little Rock, Ark.), catching one pass for 20 yards and rushing once for one yard. He led the team in receiving yards (680) and was second in receptions (44), with his 15.8 average per catch second as well. His eight touchdown receptions was a team best and tied for the fourth-most in a single season in Colorado history, at one point making at least one in four straight games, just one game shy of tying the school mark. He came on strong the last five games of the season (25 receptions, 476 yards, 19.0 per, 5 TDs), including three 100-yard games (the first three of his career); he matched his career high of eight receptions at Arizona State (97 yards, 1 TD), then had five for 112 yards against USC (2 TD), followed by five for a career-high 115 against Arizona (1 TD), three for 50 at UCLA (1 TD) and four for 102 in the season finale at Utah. He earned 29 first downs, eight on 14 third/fourth down receptions and 10 on 15 first down catches. He had 12 receptions over 20 yards and 26 that gained 10 or more. He had the highest kickoff return average on the team (23.8), though only returned four kicks, and had three knockdown blocks on special teams return unit duty. He saw limited action in the spring after suffering a strained hamstring the first day of practices (March 11); it hampered him through the spring and he was held out of the extended scrimmage action for precautionary reasons.
2010 (Jr.)—He played in all 12 games, including eight starts, in finishing second on the team in receptions (43), third in receiving yards (482) and fourth in average per catch (11.2); his three touchdowns were third. He have seven catches for 20 or more yards and 16 for 10 or longer, both second-most by a Buff, and caught at least three balls in nine games and had one in 11 games (he was shut out at Nebraska). He had career highs of eight receptions for 98 yards against Texas Tech. He caught the bulk of his passes on third and fourth downs, with a team-best 20 for 298 yards (14.9 per), as 16 of those receptions earned first downs. He caught a 73-yard pass for a touchdown from Tyler Hansen on a third down play that put CU up 24-13 early in the fourth quarter on the way to a 31-13 win, the longest play from scrimmage for the Buffaloes in the 2010 season. His other touchdown catches came on throws from Cody Hawkins against Iowa State (26 yards) and Kansas State (23). Overall, he earned 25 first downs, fifth-most on the team, 23 coming on receptions and two via the rush. He was second on the team in all-purpose yards with 760, as he also returned 10 kickoffs for 255 yards (with a long of 53 at Missouri, when he returned three for 103 yards), rushed three times for 17 yards (long of 19 versus Baylor) and returned three punts for six yards. He caught four passes for 55 yards along with the touchdown against Iowa State to go with several downfield blocks in the running game; the coaches thus selected him as CU’s receiver of the game. The Big 12 media, ahead of the annual summer media days, selected him as the conference’s offensive newcomer of the year. The Sporting News tabbed him as one of two wide receivers on its All-Spring Team, and was the publication’s number one player who helped himself the most in the spring. He was the Iron Buffalo Award winner among the team’s wide receivers for hard work, dedication, toughness and total poundage lifted in the weight room.
2009 (Jr.-RS)—He sat out due to NCAA rules after transferring to Colorado from Michigan prior to the start of the fall semester, but practiced all fall at wide receiver. He was the Scout Team Offense player of the year as well as the STO player of the week for the Wyoming game. He was a recipient of the Gold Group Commitment Award, selected by the CU coaches, which recognizes excellence with class in a variety of areas.
AT MICHIGAN (2007, 2008/ Fr., Soph.)— Played in 19 games and made three starts at Michigan in two seasons, earning a varsity letter both his freshman and sophomore campaigns. He caught 12 passes for 106 yards in his career. As a sophomore in 2008, played nine games and made one start, hauling in 11 passes for 101 yards. He also had two rushes for six yards on laterals. He caught his career long pass, a 29-yarder, against Michigan State setting up a key score in that game. As a freshman in 2007, made his first career reception, and only one of the season, against Purdue and the play resulted in a five-yard gain. He also played in the 2008 Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2008.
HIGH SCHOOL—He earned four-star status and was ranked as the No. 10 wide receiver in the country by Scout.com. He was also a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and was ranked the No. 12 receiver in the nation and the No. 3 player in the state of Pennsylvania. In his career, he had 100 receptions for 1,541 yards and 17 touchdowns. On defense, he produced eight interceptions, forced 13 fumbles and posted 217 tackles in his career. He also returned seven kicks for touchdowns, five punts and two kickoffs, in his career. As a senior, he was one of five finalists for the Gatorade Player of the Year in Pennsylvania after hauling in 39 passes for 665 yards and eight touchdowns for Valley High School under coach Troy Hill. He earned All-State honors at both wide receiver and defensive back and was named to the Harrisburg Patriot-News “Platinum 33.” He also earned first-team All-Conference and was named to the Fab-22 team by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette his senior season. After his senior season, he was selected to participate in the East-West game in Orlando. As a junior, he caught 43 passes for 666 yards and eight touchdowns and was named All-State and earned All-Conference mention as a wide receiver, defensive back, kick returner and punt returner and he was also named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fab-22 team. His sophomore season he tallied 33 catches for 642 yards. He also participated in track and field and in 2006, he also earned two Class AA state championships – in the long hurdles and 110-m high hurdles. He lettered four times in both track and field and basketball, where he owned a career scoring average of 15 points per game.
ACADEMICS—He graduated with a degree in Sociology in December 2011. He was a two-time recipient of the CU Gold Group Commitment Award (Fall 2009, Spring 2010), presented to those who have achieved “Excellence with Class” in their academic, athletic and personal lives.
PERSONAL—Born October 11, 1988 in Pittsburgh. He enjoys writing, reading and making music in his spare time. His brother, Wes, played football at California University (Pa.) and his sisters, Mycah and Mycaiah, both run track at the University of Pittsburgh. His cousin, Steve Breaston, played football at Michigan and is a member of the Arizona Cardinals, and he lists Breaston as his favorite athlete. He is also a cousin of Swin Cash, who won two NCAA championships in basketball at Connecticut. Cash is currently a member of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and was the MVP of the 2009 WNBA All-Star game, scoring an all-star record 22 points in the process and she also owns an Olympic Gold Medal in basketball from Athens in 2004.
|ADDITIONAL STATISTICS-Rushing: 3-17, 5.7 avg., 0 TD, 19 long (2010). Punt Returns: 3-6, 2.0 avg., 0 TD, 11 long (2010). Kickoff Returns: 10-255, 25.5 avg., 0 TD, 53 long; 4-95, 23.8 avg., 0 TD, 33 long (2011).|