Bethlehem's Jason Clas gets ahead of a CBA defender during a Sept. 6 Empire Division game in Colonie.
Spotlight file photo
BETHLEHEM Jason Clas is taking his football talents to Staten Island.
The Bethlehem Central High School senior accepted a full scholarship Friday to play for Wagner University, a member of the Northeast Conference in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
"It's a lot of emotions, I guess," said Clas. "I feel happiness, and I feel a little bit of relief because it's over and I can focus on everything else again."
Clas recently visited the Wagner campus, and he knew it was where he wanted to be.
"The campus was great, and the people were great," said Clas.
Wagner was only one of two Division I FCS schools to show interest in Clas. He said he received a call from retiring University at Albany head coach Bob Ford at one point, but that was it. The remaining schools on Clas' list were Division III programs.
"The first time I talked to (Wagner), they said they were pretty much going to offer me (a scholarship)," said Clas.
Clas had a solid season for the Bethlehem football team this past fall, as he rushed for more than 800 yards and nine touchdowns. He also was a steady contributor at defensive end for the Eagles, who finished with a 3-6 record.
Clas, who was also used as a tight end during his high school career, said he will be playing a variety of roles for Wagner.
"I was used pretty much all over the place in high school, and I expect that to happen in college, too," said Clas. "I'll play at tight end, but I'll also be moving around to halfback."
Shaker offensive lineman Nick Griffin also received a full scholarship to Wagner over the weekend, which means the two former Section II Class AA rivals will be teammates.
"He could be blocking with me, and he could be blocking for me," said Clas.
Clas still has to finish his senior season with the Bethlehem boys basketball team, which is sitting in fourth place in the Suburban Council South Division with a 4-7 record (5-8 overall). After that, he said he plans to prepare for his first FCS season with Wagner.
"I think the competition is going to be great -- both the competition on the team (for starting positions) and the competition within the league," said Clas.