His Jets teammates gush over the way the rookie plays the game … with his hair on fire all the time. It is the kind of mentality that Robert Saleh craves and demands.
“It’s hard to describe,” Micheal Clemons told The Post.
It is easier for defensive end Micheal Clemons to describe when asked about the transformation once he puts on his Jets helmet. He digests the question for a few seconds, which is his modus operandi, before he says, with a smile:
“Violence. And more violence.”
He is 6-foot-5, 270 pounds or so and growing, and he speaks softly in a bass voice. He does most of his talking on the field.
“He’s a big, muscular guy, he plays the game violent, he plays the game with reckless abandon, and he plays with passion,” Sheldon Rankins told The Post. “I think each and every time he’s out there, you’re seeing him run to the ball no matter where it’s at on the field, you’re seeing him lay out to make plays. And then he’s popping right back up and running back to the line and ready to do the same thing again. When you got a guy who’s willing to do that at a high clip over and over and over again, that’s not the norm. There’s a lot of guys who would turn away from some plays, and turn down certain things and shy away from certain moments, but he’s not one of those guys.”
Kwon Alexander: “He’s a monster, man. I love his work ethic, how he runs to the ball every play. He gives like 300 percent every day.
Laken Tomlinson: “He has a really good motor, and I think he has like really long arms and also very powerful.”
Jordan Whitehead: “He’s an interesting guy. Doesn’t say much but he works every day. He’s a funny guy when you do get to know him. There’s certain guys you just wish the best for.”
Clemons, a fourth-round draft pick who has put pre-draft character concerns to rest, has enticing upside given that he started out as a high school running back.
“I was trying to be Brandon Jacobs,” Clemons said.
He was 6-1, 190 pounds who soon enough was 6-3, 210-215.
“Going into the spring his junior year we played him at outside linebacker out of the 3-4 scheme,” Sachse (Texas) High School coach Marc (Red) Behrens told The Post.
It wasn’t a seamless transition. “He got a little beat up his senior year,” Behrens said, “he just wasn’t used to people coming out and getting in his legs and things like that.”
But this much has remained constant with Micheal Clemons: “His effort level never wavers,” Behrens said. “He gives you everything he’s got. You got guys like that, you got bodies like that, you’re gonna be successful, and that’s what’s happening to him right now.”
Clemons kept growing during his season at Cisco College, and then during his injury-marred days at Texas A&M. Behrens couldn’t believe his eyes when Clemons visited for spring practice following that Cisco season.
“He came walking up to the sidewalk and I heard his voice — he’s got a distinct voice anyway — I turned around and looked and I went, ‘Man, is that you Micheal?’ ” Behrens recalled. “I was like, ‘Dadgum son, ‘You’ve grown up.’ ”
Clemons would relish getting the chance to chase down Lamar Jackson on opening day against the Ravens.
“I love the way he works and the way he carries himself,” Tomlinson said. “You can tell that he truly cares about doing his job, and he has a lot of great leaders in his room as well that he can follow. I am particularly excited about his growth throughout the season.”
Clemons is affectionately nicknamed Deebo after the threatening neighborhood bully in the movie “Friday.”
“Special guy,” Rankins said. “A lot is made about his demeanor and how he goes about his business and how quote unquote scary he can look, but he’s a helluva player, helluva man. He’s done nothing but work his ass off since he’s got here. We expect nothing but huge things out of him and he expects those same things out of himself. And when a guy expects those things and works the way he works, it’s gonna click for him.”
They never hear Clemons talk at practice.
“He has his own aura,” Tomlinson said. “It’s kinda cool.”
Behrens has proudly watched Clemons from afar this summer.
“He has come 100 miles,” Behrens said.
With 100 mph violence.