TomVH: Kentucky Safety Jeremy Clark Offered a Greyshirt

Submitted by TomVH on June 23rd, 2011 at 6:32 PM

A name that has been popping up a lot since Michigan's camp is Kentucky safety Jeremy Clark. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defensive back went up to Michigan to show the coaches what he has to offer. He now finds himself in a unique scenario, and I caught up with his coach today to talk about where Jeremy is at.

Jeremy Clark"He was offered a greyshirt today by the coaches, which could eventually lead to being a part of this class if the other safety they're in on doesn't commit," his coach said. The other safety he's talking about is likely Ohio defensive back Jarrod Wilson, who could be deciding as early as tomorrow. 

To those that aren't familiar, a greyshirt would mean Jeremy would commit to Michigan and pay his way through school, likely only for a semester. Once the semester is up he would then be able to earn a scholarship, the greyshirt preserves his eligibility while not counting towards the 2012 class numbers. 

"He's going to talk to his dad tonight and make a decision soon. He really fell in love with Michigan and the coaches," said his coach. "He said the facilities, the tradition, and the coaches just made him feel at home. He said it just felt right." Deciding to take the greyshirt from Michigan would show just how interested he is since he would be passing up full rides from North Carolina State, Akron, Ball State, CMU, Illinois, Ohio, and Toledo. 

"Jeremy is a great kid, kind of quiet, but very hard worker. As far as on the field, he's a head hunter. I coached a kid that went to Notre Dame as a safety, and I think Jeremy has potential to be better," said his coach. Jeremy is a big defensive back at 6-foot-4, but his coach reports he ran a 4.4 forty time at both Kentucky and Cincinnati's camp. "He'll come down hill and play hard nosed football, too. He's got size and speed, and he just grew three to four inches in the last year. He went from being undiscovered to blowing up." 

Clark's coach isn't sure when he'll decided but is supposed to speak with his father tonight to go over what exactly a greyshirt is. "I told Jeremy what [a greyshirt] is, so I'll tell his dad tonight," he said. "I don't know when he'll decide but I know he was as excited as I've ever seen him that Michigan still wanted him." It sounds like Clark could make his decision soon. The Michigan coaches explained to him that he can take the greyshirt and if Jarrod Wilson were to commit elsewhere then Clark would take that spot for the 2012 class.



June 23rd, 2011 at 6:35 PM ^

to be a little uncomfortable about this? 

I'm glad the staff is being upfront about it, but, man, I'm not sure I love the precedent.  


June 23rd, 2011 at 6:40 PM ^

I can understand uneasiness, because the term greyshirt gets thrown around a lot in conjunction with oversigning.

But the coaches are being direct with Clark. He flat out knows he'll be greyshirted if he commits so it isn't as if he'll be told out of the blue to go to prep school for a semester Les Miles-style.

Also believe this is a good sign for Jarrod Wilson. Coaches were waiting to offer Clark because of Wilson. Being offered a greyshirt now means they could very well know what Wilson's decision is and that there isn't room for Clark next fall.


June 23rd, 2011 at 6:44 PM ^

Clark's an intriguing safety. He's 6'4" 200 lbs., and from what I've read was maybe 6'0" and certainly not 200 lbs. this time last year which partly explains his low rating. Could develop in to a big player and reports from camp are that he was one of the best players there.

As for a Hello post, I assume so. He'd be a scholarship player, he would just get on scholarship January 2013, instead of 2012.


June 24th, 2011 at 12:06 AM ^

Here's how the Greyshirt works:

As many have pointed out, the player is being offered a deferred scholarship.

The best way to understand this is to realize that while he is a 2012 prospect, they are offering him a 2013 scholarship.  That means he has a choice.  He can wait to enroll until 2013 (January 2013 as an early enrollee for that class) and receive his scholarship without having to pay for anything out of pocket or he can enroll in the Fall of 2012 and pay his own way for the first semester (unless a scholarship opens in the fall).  

Keep in mind he has 5 years to play 4 seasons, from the time he becomes a full-time student.  So if he doesn't enroll in the fall, or he enrolls with less than 12 credit hours, then the eligibility clock won't start until 2013.  

The one criticism people have with this, even in an above board situation like this one, is that the player won't be signing an LOI for the 2012 class.  And while an LOI isn't officially binding, it does reassure the player that a scholarship does exist for him.  In this case he would have to take it on faith that the coach is being honest and a 2013 scholly is his.

I think the most significant thing about this is that it confirms that Coach Hoke wants to maximize the size of this class.  He is willing to trade a 2013 scholarship for an extra 2012 player in the program.  That leads me to believe that not only is 26 players in the class a possibility we may reach 28. 


June 23rd, 2011 at 7:22 PM ^

That's not at all what they're doing.  Are you uneasy about what they're doing with Bo Dever?  He's not even being told a scholarship is likely.  A greyshirt is a way for a kid to become a scholarship football player at UM, except that it includes his parents paying for some part of his college.  This is similar to what happened with Brian Griese, in fact. 

The coaches are promising anything, and it sounds like they're being very upfront with him.  They're even saying that his might get a full offer if our plan A guys don't commit. 

Grey-shirts wouldn't exist if they were shady.  They're only shady when players are forced into them or coerced into them.  The NCAA wouldn't have created a grey shirt if it was a bad thing.  This is almost like going on the scholarship waiting list.  Come here as a glorified walk-on and when we have an open scholarship, which we almost always do, you'll be the first one to get it."


June 23rd, 2011 at 9:53 PM ^

The reason that this makes me uneasy is that there does not appear to be any guarantee that this kid will actually get a scholarship (Whereas Dever is not expecting to get a scholarship).  Maybe I don't fully understand what a "greyshirt" means, but it seems to me that if Clark were to get injured or turn out to be not as good as the coaches hoped then there would be no obligation to give him a scholarship.

That would not be OK in my opinion.  It's the kind of thing that we as Michigan fans would attack the SEC for.

Blue In NC

June 23rd, 2011 at 10:05 PM ^

Yes, and if that happens, then you are right to criticize Hoke.  Until that happens we have what appears to be an honest coach and there is nothing to indicate he will go back on his promise.  As such, I think it's fine.  If it turns out there was no scholarship (which I can't imagine), then yes, it is shady.

I Bleed Maize …

June 23rd, 2011 at 11:12 PM ^

The reason we look down on the SEC's practice of Grey Shirting is because they are not up front with the players who receive them.  They offer kids scholarships and when someone better  comes along they force them into a grey shirt or force the kid to find a new school.  What Hoke is doing is completely transparent and honest.  He has outlined the possibilities to the kid and is giving the kid the chance to make his opinion.  If he doesn't want to take the risk of a grey shirt, he is open to go with another school.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and those who feel uneasy have no reason to at all.


June 24th, 2011 at 6:20 AM ^

I never said that I thought Hoke was being dishonest (Although unless you have some insided information, I don't think there was enough data in the OP to claim with certainty that "what Hoke is doing is completely transparent and honest"), I was simply explaining why I was uneasy about this.  More than likely you guys will be right and everything will work out OK.  However, if something unfortunate were to happen and this kid had some sort of career ending inury, it's hard to see us still giving him an athletic scholarship next year.

Would he be elegible for a medical scholarship then?


June 24th, 2011 at 9:28 AM ^

> Would he be elegible for a medical scholarship then?

I mean, he would be on campus and participating in practices just like a redshirt scholarship player would.

I don't think any fears anyone has voiced about Michigan withdrawing the scholarship after he's on campus because he isn't as good as the coaches thought have any basis in reality. But an injury is another story. I wonder if the NCAA rule on greyshirts has any mention of this?


June 23rd, 2011 at 7:02 PM ^

Maybe you're correct about Wilson, I don't know. But my first instinct was somewhat less optimistic. In a sense, greyshirt or not, they would still be coming in together...this would mean a fight over the FS position, to one degree or another. Not that that would necessarily dissuade Wilson, but it would dissuade some.


June 24th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

Nevada does this all the time with recruiting and it's a fairly standard practice.  They generally use it with linemen who they want to put through the weightroom more than just the redshirt year.  As long as the kid knows beforehand that that is what the deal is I see no problem with it.


June 23rd, 2011 at 6:46 PM ^

if anything, offering Clark a grayshirt means it's pretty likely the staff thinks Wilson is locked up.  

I just question the ability of any 18 year old kid to truly make an informed decision about something like this, which is why I'd prefer that coaches not put them in the position in the first place.  


June 23rd, 2011 at 6:55 PM ^

Are you serious?

Do you know how many kids make decisions every year to turn down academic scholarships to lesser schools and pay full tuition to their dream school? Do you know how many kids that attend Ivy league schools are paying full tuition rather than getting a full ride to an in-state school? This is a very common decision for 18 year olds to make. If he chooses Michigan, it's because he thinks that it is a better option than going elsewhere. Alternatively, the coaches could have just not offered him anything and he would end up somewhere that he was less happy.

Absolutely nothing wrong with it.


June 24th, 2011 at 9:46 AM ^

I mean, many families can find or borrow enough money to pay for a semester. But four years is another story. Griese's dad obviously could afford to pay his way at Michigan.

This isn't a preferred walk-on's promise of maybe getting a scholarship if one opens up and you've earned it. This is something beyond that -- he's being offered a 2013 scholarship. If he accepts the current offer, that scholarship is taken.

Mr Miggle

June 23rd, 2011 at 6:46 PM ^

What's the problem? How could the coaches be any more honest with the kid? There's nothing inherently wrong with greyshirting. Springing it on a kid after he's committed is different, but definitely happens. What Miles did at LSU is was completely beyond the pale. I could see where it could give greyshirting a negative inference. To no less an extent it gave the same to college football.


June 23rd, 2011 at 7:19 PM ^

They're being upfont about this and not saying at the last minute -'oh we want you to take a greyshirt'.

Imagine if they had offered him a preferred walk-on spot.  Well this is even better for him than that.


June 23rd, 2011 at 8:03 PM ^

Not at all.  What's wrong with telling a kid, "Hey, we want you, but you'd have to pay 1/8 or 1/10 of your education because we're running out of scholarships"?

He's got full rides from elsewhere and can choose to get a free education from those other places.  If he wants to come to Michigan that badly, he will.  If not, he won't.

It's better than not getting an offer at all.

Zone Left

June 23rd, 2011 at 9:33 PM ^

The scholarship eventually has to count for a recruiting class, so they aren't ducking around that. 

I've got a serious issue with the way Les Mile's tried to grayshirt a kid after he was enrolled in classes. This isn't like that. The staff is being up front with the kid, so no problem. I'd take a Michigan greyshirt over a CMU traditional schollie, but I'd be really pissed if Michigan's staff didn't tell me in advance.


June 23rd, 2011 at 6:42 PM ^

I'm not sure how I should feel about this.  I'm also happy that the staff is not trying to surprise him in anyway.  Since he lives in Kentucky, the out of state tuition has to be a factor here.  If he is even contemplating it, it shows how much he wants to be a Wolverine. 

I would love to have a 6'4 safety with speed patrolling the field.


June 23rd, 2011 at 6:51 PM ^

Many a Michigan student walks on hoping to earn a scholarship down the road. A gentleman named Kovacs could tell you as much. In essence, plenty of players are paying tuition their entire careers at UofM, and elsewhere. This fellow's possession is improved by knowing it is temporary. I would have loved a shot at the opportunity he has (it still would have been cheaper than my education there, in aggregate).


June 23rd, 2011 at 7:05 PM ^

Sure, I get that. My point was more that many students come from out of state to Michigan and have to deal with that hurdle, and they do it because this IS Michigan. Clark has the pleasure of knowing it's only one semester's expense. Even fwith student loans, to many that would still be a bargain.

You're point is well taken, though.


June 23rd, 2011 at 7:05 PM ^

Another possibility could be that Clark enrolls in a prep school or junior college for a semester, plays there and then enrolls at Michigan on scholarship January 2013. Drawback to that is that he can't practice, work out, do anything with the team until then.


June 23rd, 2011 at 11:53 PM ^

You're either with us as a scholarship or you're a walk-on. This communist accounting "grey shirt" is crap, and there's no deign of legitimacy coming from "he's being told what are the pros and cons and the timeframe".  I don't like it. Using the kid for a semester is wrong. Who knows what could or could not happen. Let's play the boys we have, we wish well the boys we don't/can't get or have room for, and move forward. 

We're not the SEC here. In fact, it sounds like you're selling the kid a reverse mortgage "what are the positive, what are your responsibilities, how is the government involved blah blah blah". Malarkey.


June 24th, 2011 at 12:45 AM ^

You may dislike the concept, but the NCAA permits grey shirts and therefore must see benefits to having them.  For example, how many of us would jump at the opportunity to play scholarship football at Michigan (and pay for one semester) even if that meant foregoing full rides to other (or lesser) schools?  I think you have valid concerns, but there's no indication that Hoke will abuse this system and the players like Saban and Miles have in the SEC.

"Communist accounting"--whatever that means--this is not.