By Jim Sullivan
---- — Merrimack College senior quarterback Joe Clancy added yet another accolade to his resume when he was named as the 2012 recipient of the Harry Agganis Award in Stoneham last Thursday.
The award is presented annually to the most outstanding senior football player in New England by the New England Football Writers. Clancy, a Newburyport High alumnus, is the first Warrior to receive the coveted prize.
“It was a tremendous honor,” Clancy said. “It’s an award from a prestigious committee, and they do things really well over there. Just to win that award for Merrimack is awesome for me, my coaches and my teammates. It was a great feeling.”
For the 2012 season, Clancy broke nearly every passing record in Merrimack history, completing 323 of 510 passes for 3,945 yards and 31 touchdown passes along with three rushing touchdowns to lead the Northeast-10 Conference in all passing categories. Clancy also led the nation in passing yards per game (394.5) and total yards per game (399.4). He was named Northeast-10 Conference Offensive Player of the Year and first team All-NE-10 after posting the best season in Merrimack program history from the quarterback position.
“We’re a young program, we’re not as traditional as others,” Clancy said. “But for us to be recognized this way was awesome. It’s good to give back to the program. Obviously we posted some big numbers this year. We had a real strong senior core in the offense. We had a lot of guys step up between this and last year. Obviously we had games where we should have played better, but we had a strong season, offensively, and it was good to send those guys out on a strong season.”
This is not Clancy’s first Agganis honor; in high school he played in the football, basketball, and baseball Agganis All-Star Classics.
“I don’t know if there’s someone over there that particularly likes me,” said Clancy. “But it’s obviously a tremendous honor. It’s a great foundation. Harry Agganis was one of the best athletes that Boston ever had. It’s such an honor, and I’m grateful for everything they’ve awarded me with. I’m very humbled by it.”
After splitting playing time with fellow quarterback James Suozzo during the 2011 season, Clancy stepped out of the shadows as the Warriors’ full-time QB in 2012, leading the Warriors to a 6-4 record.
“Obviously there’s games where we didn’t play as well as we wanted to,” Clancy said. “I didn’t play perfect at all. But I had good receivers. I had a good offense to work with, essentially. So we had some success.
“In terms of playing a full game, I think I transitioned well,” he continued. “Getting a feel of the game, instead of just being thrown in at some point. To play a whole game takes a lot out of you, but if you want to be mentally strong, that’s what it really comes down to.”
A redshirt in his freshman year, Clancy has already set his sights on next year.
“It obviously comes down to how much work I want to put into this, how much my team wants to put into it,” Clancy said. “You have to put the time in. You see the teams that do well and the players that do well, and they’re the most hard-working individuals in the game, so as long as we have hard workers, that’s what we need. (Head coach John Perry) has really put together a team of kids who want to work hard and get something out of it. So, I think we’ll be good. Hopefully, I’ll be playing in a game come Thanksgiving time and Christmas time and playing in a game somewhere in Alabama. We want to make the playoffs and win a conference championship. That’s what we need to do. “