2011 Recruiting: Frank Clark

Submitted by Brian on July 19th, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Previously: CB Greg Brown, CB/S Tamani Carter, CB Blake Countess, CB Delonte Hollowell, CB Raymon Taylor, LB Antonio Poole, and LB Desmond Morgan.

       
Cleveland, OH - 6'2" 210
       

frank-clark

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
YMRMFSPA Larry Stevens
Previously On MGoBlog Commitment post from Tim.
Notes Cleveland Glenville (Pierre Woods)

Film

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.

ESPN($):

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.

TTB:

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 did turn that into stats, collecting nineteen sacks as a senior. Rich Rodriguez offered in early December and Hoke followed up that interest with hyperbole

“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.”

and a half:

“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:

  1. 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.

Comments

chewieblue

July 19th, 2011 at 3:30 PM ^

But getting almost no coaching there, makes every kid out of that school a "project".  As a matter of fact, even Troy Smith was a "project" when he came out of there.  This guy has the ability and the will to be good.  I love that he wants to be with us.  That goes a long way.

ken725

July 19th, 2011 at 3:49 PM ^

That sequence of articles is funny.  Sparty always brings up the fact that they don't pressure kids into committing.  They love to bring up the fact that Hoke is "forcing" kids to commit. 

Todd Plate's n…

July 19th, 2011 at 4:12 PM ^

i certainly don't know my ass from a 3-4 under or whatever, but does he seem to be 2011's Ojemudia?  tweener de/lb who fits in with the 3-4 look some suspect will be utilized (not exclusively by any means).  seems like a great fit for that.  again though, i know little of the chess game aspect of football.

 

 

FreddieMercuryHayes

July 19th, 2011 at 6:52 PM ^

Honestly, I really hope we end up using different fronts and alignments (just not so much this year...can we learn like one or two things and just learn them really, really well as a base to build from?). It would make it much more difficult for offenses. Clark and Mario seem to fit a situational type mold very well.

WolvinLA2

July 19th, 2011 at 5:13 PM ^

I read that link regarding Clark winning the high jump. In the results, he was also second in the long jump and the 200m. His times/distances weren't amazing for any of them, but they were all good, and considering he projects at LB or bigger, those are very good. Being a good high and long jumper means he's explosive, and usually the guys winning those events in high school aren't 210lbs.

Who cares if he doesn't have a true position yet - the kid's an athlete, we'll figure it out.

Naked Bootlegger

July 19th, 2011 at 7:15 PM ^

...conglomeration of all 4-year special teamers that were decently rated prospects coming out of high school, but could never crack anything other than special teams.   I think we should have an annual "Anton Hood" award voted on by the MGoBlog community to fete such players.

True Blue Grit

July 19th, 2011 at 6:54 PM ^

Frankly signing Clark was curious to me from several standpoints.  He seemed way too small for TE and would need to gain too much weight.  And regarding LB, we already had enough good players at LB (Morgan, Poole, Jones) in the class.  And Barnett, who I think signed on or around the same day is a much better prospect at TE.  I just don't see Clark putting on enough weight to become an effective TE or DE.  Maybe LB.   But as we've seen in recruiting, long term, there are too many other good prospects coming in.  And from where his technique situation stands, he's going to need to be a fast learner and very competitive to break the 2-deep there.

But still, I love that he wants to be here and is from Glenville High.  He's a pioneer (post-Woods) in that regard.  So, I welcome him to the family.  How about him becoming the next big hitting, run-blocking safety?  Sort of like a more athletic Jordan Kovacs?  Instead of him trying to bulk up too much, he works on speed, strength, and cover skills.  Just an idea.  Big safeties are not uncommon anymore.  Remember Taylor Mays of USC a few years back who Michigan was heavily recruiting?  He was in the 6-3 range and over 220.  Granted he had freakish speed for his size.  But Clark could potentially fill this niche on the team. 

WolvinLA2

July 19th, 2011 at 7:53 PM ^

When we signed Clark we didn't know what kind of a haul the 2012 class would be, and although there were 3 other LBs in this class, there was only 1 in the class before him. 

I'm sold on Clark.  He's athletic, versatile, and has a good attitude.  If he plays offense there won't be a whole lot of technique work that he'll need and if he's on defense he'll have some veterans in front of him to help him out until he learns the ropes. 

jbibiza

July 19th, 2011 at 7:00 PM ^

What position he fits to will become more clear when we see exactly how tall he is and how much  he weighs.  Recruiting sizes are notoriously inaccurate, but if he comes in anywhere near the 6'2" 215 consensus then he projects as either a SAM linebacker or a TE.  Both positions need some depth so it will depend on which one he takes to once practice starts.  He is an interesting case as he could be good on either side of the ball.

The Baughz

July 19th, 2011 at 7:32 PM ^

His size would indicate he is best suited to play SS or WR. Obviously he will gain more weight once he gets acclomated to a D1 strength program. He does not have elite speed, but I could see him being a nice possession type WR in a pro style/west coast offense. It's going to be interesting to see where he will end up playing. He's a heck of an athlete, so Im sure he'll excel at whatever position he ends up playing.

Dr.Jay

July 19th, 2011 at 8:11 PM ^

I tend to not give 2 shits about what some "evaluators" say about a recruit because 95% of them probably never played a down of DI football, I mean a college coach offers him so he must be special right? No idea who TTB is but cmon you can't project him anywhere, you sir are  A. an asshole or B. a poor evaluator of talent or C. a complete moron, I'll take D all of the above. Brady Hoke gave him his stamp of approval and said he will be destructive, thats good enough for me, plus he opened the doorway to a great football factory that your enemy had a stronghold on. 

jwfsouthpaw

July 20th, 2011 at 12:06 AM ^

This whole post can be reduced to "I don't care about recruiting."  You profess not to care about anything except that the coaches deemed him worthy of an offer.  But coaches offer players who bust all the time; they are not infallible.  And nobody is an asshole just for giving their opinion on what position an incoming recruit will play.  If you read TTB's website, you'd know that he started posting projections just to see how accurate he'd be when players graduated--hardly a high and mighty approach.

I do hope you're right about him being a destructive force down the line.  We can't have enough players like that.  First, though, he'll need a position and time to learn it properly.

Painter Smurf

July 20th, 2011 at 12:25 PM ^

Clark is a good fit for Sam LB.  I think some of these evaluations were written prior to people knowing what defense Mattison would run.  But Clark is actually a more natural fit for Sam then Cam Gordon in my opinion.  Runs well, relatively thick, has the physical tools to both rush the QB and drop back.  He just needs polish.  So the comments about Clark not having a position may suffer from being dated.

Section 1

July 20th, 2011 at 11:36 PM ^

To have our head football coach looking forward to a recruit getting to Ann Arbor, because "he's going to be a destructive guy."

Allow me, Coach Hoke, if I can just interject here, on your behalf... Fuck.  Shit.  Up.