Wake Forest coach Clawson, Notre Dame QB Kizer familiar with each other

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The DeShone Kizer admiration club includes the man who will be patrolling the visiting sideline this Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.

Dave Clawson was in early on the recruitment of Kizer when the current Wake Forest coach was at his previous stop, Bowling Green. Kizer, from nearby Toledo, Ohio, had drawn plenty of attention as a freshman at Central Catholic High. And he had the family connection, too, as his father Derek played basketball for the Falcons.

“He was not one of the players who let the recruiting process go to his head, and even when he had bigger offers he came down for a game or two, and he couldn’t have been more level-headed and mature,” Clawson said. “Again, we knew it was a long-shot that we were gonna get him, but whoever he ended up signing with was getting an outstanding football player, a great competitor but also a really mature and humble young man.”

Kizer said he was a Bowling Green fan growing up, and that his high school even practiced at times in the Falcons’ facility. Though Toledo was the quarterback’s first offer, Kizer said he gave the Falcons serious consideration to play both football and baseball.

“Obviously when (Clawson) left to go to Wake Forest it was a big deal for him,” Kizer said. “We were obviously expecting that to happen with the success of Bowling Green to move up to a little higher level of football.”

Kizer added: “You never expect for your stock to get any higher than it was at the time. As a freshman, going into my sophomore year, I thought my choice was going to be between Bowling Green, Toledo and Syracuse. Bowling Green was definitely very intriguing, the option of playing multiple sports there was going to be pretty fun.”

Clawson, now in his second year with the Demon Deacons, has been impressed with what he has seen from Kizer so far. The redshirt freshman ascended from third on the depth chart to full-time starter following the spring transfer of Everett Golson and the Week 2 ankle injury to Malik Zaire.

After saving the day in relief at Virginia in Week 2, Kizer is 6-1 and has the Fighting Irish at No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings as they head into Senior Day against Wake Forest.

“I’m happy for him, he’s an easy guy to root for,” Clawson said. “I obviously won’t be rooting for him this weekend. But I just remember him being a great kid, very well-raised, polite, the type of young man I think anyone would want in their program.”