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Jimmy Clausen: “It came down to Notre Dame and ‘SC at the end. I felt comfortable with both schools, but Coach Weiss is probably the biggest reason I came to Notre Dame…”

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There’s two marquee matchups on tap this weekend in college football. One is the Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas. The other is #25 ranked Notre Dame hosting #6 ranked USC. All eyes will be on the two quarterbacks – Jimmy Clausen of ND and Matt Barkley of ‘SC. Both are strong armed California products, and both have led their teams to identical 4-1 records, though in Barkley’s case, the Trojans lone loss came when he was unable to play at Washington. Clausen, a junior, could find himself near or at the top of the early Heisman Trophy race if he were able to lead the Irish over the Trojans on Saturday. He’s been outstanding, having thrown 12 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions. Clausen joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about the clash of the two titan schools, how he doesn’t worry about individual accolades, how he knew he’d eventually get to the point where he’d be leading and playing this well for the Irish, and how he had just texted Matt Barkley minutes before calling DP.

On how excited he is to play USC, the school he grew up watching having grown up in Southern California:

“I’m real excited, I know a lot of the guys on the USC team, some of the guys I went to high school with are on that team. and its just fun to be able to play against guys that I know. And it’s such a big rivalry – USC and Notre Dame. You look back at all the past games and all the great players that have come out of Notre Dame and ‘SC.”

On why he chose Notre Dame rather than USC despite growing up right in the Trojans’ backyard:

“There was a lot of people who kept asking me why are you going to Notre Dame, ‘SC’s better. But I kind of wanted to get away from California and experience something different. You know I’m probably going to go back and live in California once I’m done with college, so just to get away for a few years and try something different is good for me.”

On how close he was to signing with USC:

“I was really close. It came down to Notre Dame and ‘SC at the end. I felt comfortable with both schools, but Coach Weiss is probably the biggest reason I came to Notre Dame, and like I said,  just to get away from California and try something new.”

On how frequently he talks to USC quarterback Matt Barkley and when he most recently spoke with him:

“You know, I texted him today actually a few minutes ago before I got on the phone; just to say how you doing? How are things looking for you this week, and I can’t wait to see you on Saturday. So hopefully he’ll text me back soon, and it’s just really exciting.”

On if he’s surprised that he’s playing so well this season:

“To be honest, I’m not. This is kind of how I played back in high school – you know, just playing loose, having a lot of fun, being a leader out there. It was kind of hard to do that coming in as a true freshman at such a high profile university like Notre Dame.”

On if he realizes that a big individual performance and a ND victory would position him nicely for winning the Heisman Trophy:

“You can’t fall in to the trap of thinking about individual awards. You just got to think about the team and whatever you can to do help the team win. And this team is really close and I’d be selfish to look at it like that. But you know, if we end up winning the game and having a great season, that might happen for me, but if it does that means the team was successful this year.”

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