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Clausen bolting South Bend for NFL

Regardless of just who Notre Dame ultimately taps as their new head coach, one thing is certain. The new boss won’t have Jimmy Clausen under center for his first season.

A news conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET this afternoon, at which time the Irish quarterback will officially announce his intentions to make himself available for the 2010 NFL draft.

The junior talked to ahead of the presser, and said that former head coach Charlie Weis convinced him that leaving early was the right decision given the QB’s development over the past three years.

“After the season, in talking to my parents and obviously Coach Weis, I just feel it’s the right time,’' Clausen said. “Coach Weis told me whether he was going to be here or not be here, it was time for me to go. He thought I’ve improved so much since I came to Notre Dame. So, I’m taking his advice, and I’m going to head out.”

Clausen is the No. 4 player on Mel Kiper‘s Big Board, and he’s just ahead of Sam Bradford as Kiper’s highest-rated QB.

There’s a very good chance that Clausen could be a top-five pick as well as the first QB taken, so that projection, coupled with the fact that he’d be dealing with a new head coach and -- likely -- a new offensive system would seem to have made this a relatively easy decision for Clausen and his family to make.