Let’s just say Chase Claypool didn’t take the conventional route to become a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He wasn’t getting a whole lot of attention in high school so he took matters into his own hands. Claypool, a 6-foot-4, 238-pound wide receiver, wound up getting several big-time college offers and then eventually became a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft. It all started with a Facebook post.
Who is Chase Claypool?
Chase Claypool grew up in Abbotsford, British Columbia, and played football “for fun” while growing up. He was more into basketball and he was very good at it. If anything, Claypool figured if he played any sport at a high level it would be basketball.
As a senior in high school, Claypool averaged better than 40 points per game, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He was getting scholarship offers for some small Division 1 schools. Deep down, however, Claypool loved football more. Canada wasn’t really known for producing big-time Division 1 college football players.
“I certainly had an interest in basketball, especially when I was getting better,” Claypool told the Post-Gazette. “But no matter how many times I picked up basketball as a hobby, I always gravitated back to football. And that is something I couldn’t say for anything else. Football was just home for me. It was my comfort zone. It was kind of a gut feeling that football was the sport for me.”
Claypool had to market himself
Chase Claypool knew he wanted to give football a shot at the next level. While he was thriving on the basketball court and generating some college interest, nothing was happening football-wise. He had zero football offers after his junior year. He decided to take the matter into his own hands and try social media.
“I wasn’t really aiming to get a (Division 1) offer just because it almost was impossible and kind of out of reach already, being a junior and having no offers,” Claypool said in The Observer. “So I just kind of threw up my film on Facebook — just something that I did for fun — and then (my AAU seven-on-seven football coach) saw it and sent it to some people. … So it kind of happened by fluke.”
Claypool’s post generated an offer from Nevada and then it grew from there. “It was surreal,” Claypool said of getting that first offer. “ … I hung up and I asked my mom, ‘Is this real? Like I don’t know.’ And then I started doing all my research on Nevada and was like, ‘This could be my only one,’ so I was making sure I knew everything about the school.” In the next few months, he fielded offers from big-time schools such as Michigan, Notre Dame, and Oregon. Prior to the start of his senior year, he committed to Notre Dame.
He made his way to the NFL
Chase Claypool overcame several challenges growing up, including having to deal with his sister’s suicide when he was 13. “I think it gives me reason,” he said in The Sporting News. “And now, I look at it as she is always looking down at me. Before I do something, I ask myself, will this make her proud? If not, then I need to change it. My mindset is to make her proud.”
These days, he’s making everyone proud. He made a very strong impression at Notre Dame, where he had 13 touchdowns and 1,037 receiving yards in his senior year. “The first thing you notice is this giant,” said Notre Dame receivers coach Del Alexander in the Post-Gazette. “He’s this athlete that can move and bend. But then you’re surprised to see a guy like him be as nasty and aggressive as he is. It’s not something you normally see with someone with his skills.”
In the 2020 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Claypool in the second round with the 49th overall pick. At every level, Chase Claypool has answered the challenge. Look for him to keep making his sister proud.