Season recap: Nick Klemm
Nothing came easy for Tom Flugum during his first season as head football coach at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga.
Flugum was hired by Wheeler in April with the daunting task of turning around a program with just one winning season in the previous 10 years.
Once hired, Flugum took a trip to the Wheeler weight room, where he was delighted to find a 6-foot-7, 280-pound offensive tackle already there working out. The massive, unknown lineman turned out to be Nick Klemm, who signed with Maryland yesterday.
“There was no coach,” Flugum said. “There was a void there before I got hired. [Klemm] was still there. He didn’t just take the fact that, ‘nobody’s watching me. I can take the next four weeks off and not do anything.’ His attitude was, ‘I’m going to go ahead and get to work.’"
Klemm emerged early as a leader for Wheeler, but the pieces weren’t in place for a storybook senior season. The Wildcats suffered through an 0-10 year. But Klemm kept battling throughout the season, Flugum said.
“He came to practice everyday ready to work,” Flugum said. “He always had a positive attitude. He was a team leader. He spoke up at practice, trying to get guys motivated and focused on the task at hand. He never complained, never pointed fingers.”
Klemm, who initially committed to Boston College before switching to Maryland before Signing Day, was rated a two-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, neither of which have film on the future Terp. Flugum said UM fans should ignore those rankings.
“He’s got good feet, he runs well for a big man, he can jump well and is explosive,” Flugum said. “He’s got good size, good reach. And he’s smart. ... He’s a good kid, a character kid. He plays well in space and he’s got the size to play in the ACC.”
While Flugum was obviously disappointed about Wheeler’s season and felt bad for his seniors, he said he was thankful for the one season he spent coaching Klemm.
“I obviously wish we had three or four or five [linemen like Klemm],” Flugum said. “But Nick’s got great parents, he’s a hard worker and he’s coachable. I see nothing but the best ahead of him.”