On the list of quarterbacks the Texas Longhorns are evaluating in the 2018 class, Lewisville Hebron’s Clayton Tune isn’t exactly the frontrunner or most obvious choice — he’s currently unranked, doesn’t hold any offers, and didn’t put up gaudy stats on an average team in 2015.
In an era of spread offenses across the state, Hebron is unusual in that it runs a multiple offense asking Tune to go under center and work from the shotgun. So while the 6’2, 188-pounder ran the ball 111 times in 2015, he gained only 194 yards and wasn’t able to truly showcase his athleticism.
However, it’s Tune’s athleticism despite his pro-style classification that is one of the more intriguing elements of his skill set. In Dallas this spring, Tune ran a 4.74 40-yard dash, posted a 4.40 shuttle, and registered a 35-inch vertical leap at The Opening regional camp. With some technique work, Tune’s father told Burnt Orange Nation that his son ran a hand-timed 4.58 at an Oklahoma State camp and now claims a 4.2 shuttle.
By comparison, Denton Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders, the top-ranked quarterback in the state, ran a 4.43 shuttle at the same Dallas camp and had a vertical leap that was 10 inches less than that of Tune. Sanders also didn’t have a 40-yard dash recorded at the event.
So it’s definitely possible that Tune is the best athlete of the in-state quarterbacks in his class, even if he doesn’t get to show it often on the field. The verified Nike testing results certainly back up that claim.
As a passer, Tune has a nice combination of touch and arm strength — he can make long throws to the sideline and has the accuracy and touch to fit passes into small windows and over underneath defenders, the latter a particularly difficult task. Tune is especially effective on fade routes, the ultimate touch pass, and is precise enough to put the ball on the proper shoulder to allow his receivers to make plays after the catch.
When forced out of the pocket, he’s comfortable and effective moving to his left and clearing his hips to find receivers down the field, so he’s not a guy who will just pull the ball down and run when he gets flushed.
In fact, he’s good enough moving left that Hebron ran some designed rollouts in that direction for him last season.
The Tune family also knows how to overcome obstacles. Clayton’s older brother Nathan was a walk on at North Texas under Todd Dodge, but emerged to beat out Dodge’s son Riley as a senior in 2010 after starting two games the previous season.
Right now, the younger Tune is preparing for a critical junior season. He’s receiving interest from schools like Bowling Green, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M, in addition to Texas, but all the schools are waiting to see how he performs in the coming weeks.
Longhorns offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, in particular, will evaluate the first three games of Tune’s season and has been up front in his interest in the junior, but desire to see more from him.
For Tune to earn that offer, he’ll need to reduce his interception rate of 2.7 percent, but his completion percentage of 64.4 percent last year is a good number that he’ll simply have to maintain while producing some big plays and avoiding turnovers.
Tune still won’t challenge 2017 Texas quarterback commit Sam Ehlinger in putting up massive passing numbers and Hebron plays in a difficult district that includes Southlake Carroll and Euless Trinity. The team’s leading rusher is back, but gone are the top two receivers from last season, so Tune will have to break in some new players to impress Gilbert with his performances against Plano, Wylie, and Plano West.
The task ahead is difficult and there are plenty of other quarterbacks Texas is evaluating, but it wouldn’t be wise to count Tune out.