NFA has known about Sean Clifford for years.
The standout quarterback from Cincinnati has been training with NFA since he was in second grade, and Clifford started opening even more eyes as a seventh grader at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
Already standing 6 feet tall and splitting his season between the seventh and eighth grade teams at CHCA, Clifford passed for 1,375 yards and 18 touchdowns in nine games.
Clifford has continued to grow, both in the physical sense and as a quarterback.
As a sophomore at St. Xavier this past season, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder was the varsity starter. While helping the Bombers go 10-3 and advance into the third round of the Ohio state playoffs, Clifford connected on 67 of 115 passes for 762 yards and 8 touchdowns. He also used his 4.6 speed in the 40 to rush for 217 yards and 2 TDs.
“With 1,600 guys at our school, I was definitely surprised about winning the varsity quarterback job,” Clifford said. “But I think I worked hard enough to become the guy.”
Even as a sophomore, Clifford had the athletic ability and physical tools to step in and quarterback a powerhouse St. Xavier program. And he didn’t shy away from being a young leader.
“Gaining leadership throughout the season, I thought I really improved in that area,” Clifford said. “But it took a big team effort. It wasn’t just me alone. I felt like I was really part of a brotherhood and the other guys really took me in and made me feel accepted, especially the seniors. They taught me everything I needed to know to have success.”
With two more seasons of football with the Bombers, Clifford is not going to be satisfied with his rousing success as a sophomore.
“With a year of experience on the varsity, I expect to be better next season,” Clifford said. “I’m working hard to make myself the best player I can be. Decision making is something I really need to work on. Making throws that shouldn’t be made is one thing I want to correct.”
Clifford is already good enough to be noticed by college football recruiters. Akron has already offered a scholarship, and Clifford picked up another one while visiting Pittsburgh last weekend.
“Going to Pitt, it was a lot of fun,” he said. “I learned a lot about the school and the coaching staff. To get an offer, it was a total surprise.”
It will come as no surprise when other colleges line up with more offers, and Clifford is looking forward to the entire recruiting process.
“It’s probably going to be a little hectic, but it’s my dream,” he said. “I think it’s definitely going to be a fun ride through the rest of my football career. I just let it flow. I knew it was going to happen, so I just let it come to me. I’m not going to get too worried about it. I’m not going to let it be any more pressure than I already have.”
Handling the pressures that come with playing quarterback has always come pretty easy for Clifford, and it all started when he hooked up with NFA as a second grader.
“NFA really helped me develop,” Clifford said. “They helped me with my fundamentals, mechanics, leadership, everything.”