Clement, Bell and Leary have plenty of football scholarship offers

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Rancocas Valley's Iverson Clement scores as he is chased by Washington Township's Liam Watson. AKIRA SUWA

Iverson Clement says Ohio State always has been his "dream school."

But the Rancocas Valley junior also says he knows better than to confuse dreams with reality.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Clement, one of the state's top football recruits in the class of 2018, could decide to enroll at Ohio State at the end of an increasingly active recruiting process.

But that's no sure thing, even though Clement admits that "back in the day, I was a big fan of the Buckeyes."

Clement has narrowed his college choices to six: Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Penn State, Rutgers, and Tennessee.

He hopes to visit as many as possible during "junior days" this spring but has no timetable for his decision.

"I want to take my time and make the best decision for me and my family," Clement said after a recent Rancocas Valley basketball game.

Clement is a role player in basketball for the Red Devils, the No. 14 team in the Inquirer Top 25 with a 4-1 record. He specializes in defense, rebounding, and scrapping for loose balls.

"I always loved basketball," Clement said. "No way I was going to give it up. You only get once chance to play in high school."

Clement was a first-team All-South Jersey selection as a running back in the fall. He gained 1,430 yards on 194 carries (7.5 average) and scored 20 touchdowns for a Rancocas Valley team that went 8-3 and reached the South Jersey Group 5 semifinals.

Clement also is a top defensive back.

Clement said college recruiters are split on his future at the next level, with some projecting him as a defensive back and others as an all-purpose player on offense.

"Some of them say I can be a slot back like Curtis Samuel," Clement said, referring to the Ohio State star.

Ohio State clearly is one of the favorites in the race to earn Clement's commitment. He visited the school for its thrilling victory over archrival Michigan on Nov. 26.

"When I was little, I didn't know anything about offers, scholarships, recruiting," Clement said. "I just used to watch Ohio State on TV because I was a big fan. . . . But you've got to put your dream school in reality.

"You have to understand that you need to go where it's the best fit for you, what's best for you and your future."

Bell's decision

Bridgeton senior Markquese Bell has narrowed his choices to two: Ohio State and Maryland.

Bell previously had indicated that Rutgers and Virginia Tech were part of his top four.

The 6-3, 190-pound Bell, a two-time, first-team all-South Jersey selection as a defensive back, plans to announce his decision Sunday during the Under Armour All-American Game, which will be televised by ESPN at 1 p.m.

Former Camden star Cesar Ruiz, a center who spent the last two seasons at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., also is playing in the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando, Fla.

Big offer for Leary

Timber Creek junior quarterback Devin Leary on Thursday picked up an offer from Baylor University.

That was Leary's second Big 12 offer, following West Virginia.

The offer was especially noteworthy in that former Temple coach Matt Rhule was recently hired as Baylor's coach. Also, Temple assistant coach Francis Brown, a Camden graduate who has been instrumental in the Owls' successful recruitment of many top South Jersey players, is expected to join Rhule in Waco, Texas.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Leary set state records this season with 3,688 passing yards and 48 passing touchdowns in leading Timber Creek to a 12-0 record and the Chargers' second straight South Jersey Group 4 title.

A top shortstop and hitter, Leary said he plans to skip the baseball season at Timber Creek this spring to focus on football.

The Baylor offer was Leary's 11th. He also has offers from programs such as Iowa, West Virginia, Maryland, Boston College, Rutgers, Temple, and Wake Forest.

Cherry Hill West defensive back Harrison Hand has also picked up offer from Baylor. He was first team all-South Jersey by the Inquirer.

panastasia@phillynews.com

@PhilAnastasia