UConn Legends - Football's First 1,000yd Rusher, Vinny Clements

Before Vinny Clements played in the NFL with the New York Giants, or even set foot on the UConn Campus in Storrs to play football for Coach John Toner, Clements was a beast of a running back at Southington High School. Racking up 1,502yds in his Junior Year and 3,417yds for his career. Where at the time, the Blue Knights ripped off 34 straight wins. Vinny was your well rounded, three sport athlete. 692pts in three years in basketball, while on the baseball diamond, 12 career wins, 147k in 114 innings. Only 28 walks and 26 runs allowed while hitting .303 for his career.

Vinny Clements played varsity football at UConn from 1968-70, where a knee injury cut short his senior season with the National Flag Blue...In 1968, the Huskies went 4-1 in Yankee Conference play to earn a Co-Championship where Clements obliterated the school rushing record. 186 carries for 962y and 7 TD's. The following season of 1969, Vinny not only carried the ball, but at times even handled the place kicking duties. 3/6 on PAT's and had a two point conversion. But his season at running back was another record setting one. Where he broke both records he set the previous year in carries with 242 and 1,060y rushing. That included a then school record of 273y rushing in a 25-15 win at Rhode Island on November 15th. In his time at UConn, Vinny is one of three running backs to average over 100y rushing per game. He tops the list at 105.8 (Donald Brown 102.7). T-5 with 27 total TD's, 4th in carries 489 and 7th in career yards with 2,327. That 69' season included just the second ever victory over Yale (19-15) where he had a spectacular 69y TD run...and a 28-22 home win over Rutgers. Clements also became UConn's Second ever First Team All American.

In the Spring of 1971, Clements, still recovering from a season ending injury in 1970 that occured in the 4th game of that season against Temple, he was the 4th round pick (#102) of the Minnesota Vikings. Although he never played a down with them, still rehabbing and frankly, losing some interest in the game. He went into banking back home in Connecticut. Still property of the Vikings in 1972, they packaged Clements in a trade that included Norm Snead, Bob Grimm and a couple of high draft picks to the New York Giants, for disgruntled QB Fran Tarkenton.

Clements played behind Ron Johnson and Charlie Evans in the 72' season, when Evans broke his leg in a week 9 game against Washington. Clements turning a few heads in the last four games, averaging 4.8y per carry. That included an impressive 23 carry, 105y game in an impressive 23-3 win at Dallas to close out the 1972 campaign where the Giants finished a respectable 8-6. And growing up a Giants Fan, he got to meet his favorite player growing up, Hall of Famer Frank Gifford.

Clements played sparingly in 12 games in 1973 running for and receiving a touchdown each for the only two scores of his pro career. Following the 1973 season, Clements tried his hand in the World Football League's Hawaii Franchise. He was the third leading rusher on The Hawaiians Team with a pair of scores in 1974, and 4th on the team in rushing in 1975 before the team folded.

In 1986 in honor of the 100th season of football at UConn, Clements was named to the All Century Team.

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