national champs baby
2011 Recruiting: Frank Clark
|Cleveland, OH - 6'2" 210|
|Scout||3*, #33 TE|
|Rivals||3*, 5.6, #52 OH, NR OLB|
|ESPN||3*, 77, #83 DE|
|Others||247: 3*, 83, NR|
|Other Suitors||Michigan State, Penn State, North Carolina, Cal|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post from Tim.|
|Notes||Cleveland Glenville (Pierre Woods)|
Miraculously, a D-I football prospect managed to get through his recruiting year without accumulating embeddable video—or even unembeddable video. Here's this instead:
Michigan has had no luck at all at Glenville High School, the magnet school coached by Ted Ginn Sr., since Pierre Woods finished his Michigan career rotting on the bench behind nonentities (except for that Iowa game he saved because Woodley was out). Whether that was a convenient excuse or real grudge held will never be known, but no Glenville kid has signed a Michigan LOI since Woods did.
That streak ended in February when Glenville LB/TE Frank Clark put pen to paper for Brady Hoke. Clark didn't have an Ohio State offer, but he had a significant number of other Big Ten options. Anything other than the MAC has been good enough for Glenville kids to spurn Michigan since Woods, so snagging Clark has a bit more significance than your average generic three-star might. At least it does off the field.
On the field, no one can figure out where he's going to play. As you can see above, the three main recruiting sites all list him at different positions—linebacker, TE, and DE. This Bill Kurelic post on his commitment says he'll be a "hybrid linebacker/safety"; safety is where he worked out at the Big 33 game before the coaches there asked Michigan for help finding a place for this guy…
Frank Clark SS/LB Glenville HS
… In the two live practices Clark participated in, he really got after it, wreaking havoc in every way possible. After working out at safety for awhile, the Ohio coaches made a phone call to Michigan to see where Clark fits best. Because of his size/speed combo, expect to see him roaming the field as a defensive end and line linebacker.
…which is a weird group of people to ask because they dunno…
Clark could play on either side of the football for the Wolverines, and was recruited as a linebacker, tight end or wide receiver.
"I'm not sure what position I will play, to be honest," he stated. "I will play wherever they want me to, and a couple different coaches have told me they want me in their position group. I'm just so happy to have this opportunity with Michigan, and my position doesn't matter to me."
…and you'll notice that with the addition of wide receiver we've reached five different positions Frank Clark almost but does not quite fit in.
Let's beat this into the ground. Rivals($):
Defensively he's a bit of a tweener between defensive end and linebacker, and he looks like he may be a bit bulky and stiff for wide receiver. -B.S.
He is a bit of a defensive end / outside linebacker 'tweener at this point and has a some experience at both spots … There is some possibility that Clark could be looked at as a tight end.
To be honest, I can't really project Clark anywhere.
So he's Epic Tweener. But he did have a decently impressive selection of offers before settling on Michigan. What do people see in him? Athleticism, mostly:
Clark has a great football body. He looks bigger than his listed 6-2 and he is well-built. He has a lot of versatility and though he looks like his best position may be on defense, he actually wants to play wide receiver and is getting recruited as such. Defensively, Clark showed a really good motor, strength at the point of attack, and strong hands and instincts.
“He said he watched five seconds of my highlights and was blown away,” Clark said. “He said I’m just a pure athlete and he is waiting for me to get to Michigan and see what it’s all about.”
“Frank, in a lot of ways Frank, and I don’t want to put this pressure on him, reminds me of Pierre (Woods),” Hoke said. “If you look at (Clark’s) length and the way he runs, he’s going to be a big ol’ guy for us as a football player and a destructive guy.”
Folks other than Hoke are a little less enthused. TTB bluntly states that while he is a decent athlete he's "about as raw and can be," getting his shoulders turned regularly and failing to wrap up. ESPN's often lurid scouting reports are reserved when they come to Clark:
He needs to add bulk, but looks to have good length and a nice reach and a frame to develop and add more size to. He displays good explosiveness. He looks to need to become more comfortable at using his hands, but he can be active with them when taking on blockers. He displays the ability to be able to play with good pad level and leverage. … He will attack half-a-man and while he needs to develop his pass rush arsenal he can be active with his weapons and can turn the corner well to get to the quarterback.
This reads like "we have seen him do these things occasionally, but not consistently" and stands in marked contrast to their evaluations of guys like Desmond Morgan. FWIW, they believe his length and frame will lead him to defensive end.
On the other hand, when Allen Trieu and Bill Greene caught him at the Michigan they both evaluated him as a WR/TE($), and pretty well. Trieu:
He's a big bodied kid who has a good sense of how to create separation. He's going up against speedy cover corners and he's still able to get open because he runs great routes. When the ball's in the air, it's his. He goes up and positions himself well. To me, the only drawback with him right now is that he's a tweener, but I think he'll grow into a pass catching tight end. I'd like to see how he blocks in the future.
…which implies that how he blocks now is "not entirely unlike Carson Butler."
It's inescapable: Frank Clark is a project. Whether he ends up at LB, DE, or even TE is unknown, and the possibility he plays Anton Hood's favorite position—guy who plays a lot of special teams—is strong. He needs to add weight, find a position, learn that position, and keep his athleticism if he's going to become a starter. That's a long road to productivity.
Etc.: Biggest fear is "not being able to provide for his family," which is… definitely not a white whine. Say it is "unfortunate" OSU didn't offer him. Scout commit article. MLive commit article. The Asheville Citizen-Times interviews him. Clark does win high school high jump competitions, so he's got that going for him.
Awesome sequence of articles from Rivals:
Glenville LB close to being a Spartan? (money quote: "As many Spartan fans know, head coach Mark Dantonio does not push or pressure kids to make a commitment on their official visit.")
Save that face, yo.
Why Larry Stevens? Stevens was a high school safety/linebacker/touchdown machine who ended up moving to defensive end at Michigan. While he was a mainstay for the defense during his time, he was a very boring mainstay: in 44 games he managed 12 sacks. Stevens's touted athleticism took a hit as he bulked up his 6'2" frame to 240 pounds to play on the line; he never developed the technique to excel. The end result was the most definitively average defensive end in the last decade of Michigan football.
Like Stevens, Clark is a man without a position who will be a big LB or small DE. Stevens was considerably more hyped, FWIW, and Clark will probably take a longer time to see the field.
Guru Reliability: High-ish. Everyone says the same thing and Glenville is amongst the most heavily scouted schools in the country. The positional confusion does obfuscate things somewhat, but everyone says "project," so he's a project.
General Excitement Level: Meh. Without a position, electric athleticism, or much in the way of technique, Clark is just a big, moderately fast dude to put in the S&C program.
Projection: I'm guessing Clark is initially slotted at SLB since there are two MLBs, at least two WDEs, and a WLB in his class. There he's got a long wait behind redshirt sophomore Cam Gordon and redshirt freshman Jake Ryan, which is just as well because tweener without technique etc. It's possible he ends up putting his hand down and joins burgeoning numbers at WDE; either way expect a redshirt and at least one more year of special teams duty before he might see the field.