6-foot-4 Adam Clausen college prospect who excels in classroom

Adam Clausen’s mind starts racing as he looks at a calendar listing camps and college trips. Within moments, the Episcopal senior-to-be is on a different mental track.

Clausen explains his senior honors thesis, and why he’d like to be an orthopedic surgeon.

Such reversals are nothing new for Clausen, who proved his versatility this spring while helping Episcopal become the first Baton Rouge-based boys soccer team to win a state title since 2000.

“Adam is one of the nicest kids you’d ever want to meet,” Episcopal coach Chris Stewart said. “He’s always been big and skilled, but I think the thing that sets him apart now is his confidence.

“He came up through the ranks the first two years. This year, he knew what needed to get done, and he did it.

“His confidence isn’t just in his own game. Adam has confidence in his teammates, too.”

These days, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Clausen is looking confidently toward a future that includes anther season with the Knights and beyond.

Just hours removed from a one-day trip to Chicago for a camp at Northwestern University, Clausen details upcoming weeks packed with camps and/or college trips.

There’s an Episcopal team camp at Furman, two Olympic Development Program camps, one in Monroe and the other Tuscaloosa, Ala., and a trip to an East Coast-based soccer academy. “Academic” college visits to Virginia, Davidson and Wake Forest are set.

“This summer is about getting myself out there and going to camps to be seen,” Clausen said.

“I want to play at a Division I school, but I’m not sure what level school I fit on. That’s what I’m trying to find out.”

A body of work

Chris Mitchell, the coach of rival University High, was the only coach to pick Episcopal as the preseason Division III favorite. It was part intuition and insider information.

Mitchell coached Clausen and several of his Episcopal teammates on the club level as 10- and 11-year-olds. Clausen was a big part of the reason why Mitchell picked the Knights.

“Episcopal struggled the year before, but they always had the potential,” Mitchell said. “And this year they really put it together.

“Adam is a big kid, and he became a playmaker in the middle of the field. He knows how to take advantage of his size.”

Clausen viewed himself as a pass-first center forward before this past season. He finished with 26 goals and 10 assists and was voted the All-Metro and Division III MVP after Episcopal put together a 16-game winning streak that included a 2-1 overtime win over Newman in the title game. Clausen scored the winning goal.

“Up in the air, it’s hard to find anybody who can match up with him,” Stewart said. “Adam probably scored half his goals on headers. He’s working now to get stronger physically and to improve his speed.”

Making the grades

Clausen carries and a 3.94 grade-point average and will take a variety of advance placement courses. Though he loves math and science, Clausen confesses that his true love is sports.

That love for sports impacts academic choices. For example, Clausen’s senior thesis is about whether playing video games can impact athletic performance in a real game.

As a youngster growing up, Clausen played a wide array of sports, including ice hockey, which led to injuries. Enter LSU team physician Dr. Brent Bankston, who treated Clausen.

“I used to get hurt a lot,” Clausen recalled. “I broke my arm playing hockey a few times, and Dr. Bankston was my doctor. Seeing him out on the field helping LSU players is really cool. I’d like to be able to help people that way.”

Finding a college with a successful academic program that includes soccer is important for Clausen.

“Georgetown is one of the schools I’ve heard from,” Clausen noted. “I know they’re very good in basketball. I want to be challenged academically, and I want to experience following other sports, too.”

Marked man and team

Clausen said the Knights won’t be able to sneak up on anyone once the 2013-14 season begins this fall.

U-High was one of the few teams that chose to “mark” Clausen last season by having a defender follow him in one local contest. Expecting more of the same, Clausen is working on his foot speed and is lifting weights with the football team.

“Right now we’re still in the zone where everybody thinks, ‘Yes, we won,’ but I see that changing real soon,” Clausen said. “We have a lot of guys who play football, and their mind is on that.

“Winning last year was not that easy. We were 6-6 at one point. We’ll need to wake up and get focused.”