The Oklahoman's Super 30: Kansas State commit Jake Clifton of Owasso 'checks all of the boxes' for recruiters
OWASSO — Jake Clifton was uncertain about his future in football at the beginning of his high school career at Owasso.
Clifton has always been a great athlete, but he bloomed later than a lot of his teammates.
“Wasn’t really a big football dude when I was younger,” he said. “I loved the sport, but I never really had the starting spot. I was always behind bigger dudes because everybody had a growth spurt before me.
“I was like 5-foot-8 in eighth, ninth grade. Tenth grade is when I had my growth spurt.”
Clifton is now 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds.
He doesn’t spend much time on the sideline these days.
Clifton had a breakout junior season and is No. 17 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 list of the state’s top recruits in the 2022 class. An outside linebacker and Rivals three-star prospect, he announced his commitment to Kansas State this month.
He chose the school after receiving 12 Division-I offers between January and June.
Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Tulsa and Washington State were among the schools to extend an offer.
Clifton was caught off guard when his recruitment exploded.
“There was a time in the spring he was getting a new offer about every week,” Owasso coach Bill Blankenship said. “He would just come to me and start laughing. He’s like, ‘Coach, can you believe this?’”
A three-sport athlete, Clifton plays a different one in each season of the school year.
He competes in football in the fall, basketball in the winter and track in the spring.
His combination of size, length and speed help him excel in just about anything he tries.
“He’s kind of a dream,” Blankenship said. “One of those guys that just checks all of the boxes. He’s an All-American boy, wants to be coached. Goes 100 miles an hour. His athletic ability, they just don’t come along like that.”
Clifton will play both linebacker and tight end this year for Owasso, which lost to Jenks in the Class 6A-I semifinals last season.
Clifton, a quarterback early in his high school career, will likely be an outside linebacker at the next level.
“He’s a guy that can play a lot of places,” Blankenship said. “That kind of size and that kind of speed and that kind of athleticism is not locked into any one spot. I think he’s an outside linebacker, maybe a weak-side linebacker.”
Clifton has a carefree personality and is surprised about the recent attention.
He never shows any arrogance. Blankenship appreciates that as much as anything.
“He’s just got all those things and yet doesn’t think so highly of himself that he bugs you,” Blankenship said. “He’s really very humble and pleasantly naive.”
The Oklahoman’s 2022 Super 30
Name: Jake Clifton | School: Owasso
Ranking: No. 17 | Pos.: Outside linebacker
Height: 6-foot-2 | Weight: 205 pounds
Committed to: Kansas State
About the series
The Oklahoman’s Super 30 feature series will spotlight each high school football player on the Super 30 recruit rankings for the 2022 class. The series continued Sunday with Nos. 18 and 17, Norman North’s Duncan Parham II and Owasso’s Jake Clifton. See No. 16 on the list in Monday’s edition of The Oklahoman. Here are the last five players featured:
No. 21: Jocelyn Malaska, WR/DB, Bethany
No. 20: NuNu Campbell, CB, Tulsa Holland Hall
No. 19: Tabry Shettron, TE, Edmond Santa Fe
No. 18: Duncan Parham II, LB, Norman North
No. 17: Jake Clifton, LB, Owasso
Reporter Nick Sardis covers high school sports across the Oklahoma City metro and state. Have a story idea for Nick? He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @nick_sardis. Support Nick’s work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at oklahoman.com/subscribe or by using the link at the top of this page.