Houston Clements is Carolina-bound.
He hasn't yet been on the mat because of Baylor's playoff-extended football season, but that didn't keep the senior from committing to wrestle for North Carolina's Tar Heels.
"I had almost given up hope of wrestling in college," he said.
Clements wrestled at McCallie as a freshman and posted a 42-5 record with a fourth-place state finish, but he had to sit out his sophomore season after transferring to Baylor. Last winter he wrestled just 12 matches after suffering a torn Achilles' tendon in the first half of the football season.
"I visited [UNC] the second week of October and committed the following Monday," he said.
Clements had gotten mild interest from Virginia and Duke and was scheduled to make an official visit to Duke. He did not after his trip to Chapel Hill.
"North Carolina made it clear that they wanted me, and that was important to me," he said. "They told me I was the No. 1 guy they wanted."
Because of his lack of competition, at least compared to most of his peers, Clements didn't think he had a clue. However, UNC coach C.D. Mock told him his staff had based their judgment outside of Tennessee competition.
"They said they looked at a lot of tape but also the fact that I won the Ohio Tournament of Champions and that I was a two-time All-American at the high school nationals [at Virginia Beach, Va.]," he said.
Baylor coach Ben Nelson thinks Clements will wrestle 149 for the Tar Heels.
"There's a lot of untapped potential," Nelson said of Clements, who'll wrestle either 152 or 160 for the Red Raiders this season. "He's a great athlete and a great young man, a hard worker.
"He has great strength and great balance, tremendous athleticism; there are so many attributes, both physical and mental."
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...