Monday, February 25, 2013
OKPreps 14 for '14: DE Deondre Clark
By Bob Przybylo
Is the Class of 2014 crop of in-state talent the best Oklahoma has seen since 2006? With six recruits in the ESPN Watch List, it’s shaping up to be a busy recruiting year in the Sooner State. For the next three weeks, SoonerNation is going to profile the OKPreps’ 14 for ’14: a look at some of the top names and where they stand with OU.
Watch List DE Deondre Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass, 6-4, 235) 2012 stats: 99 tackles, 22 sacks. 48 rushes for 275 yards, 4 touchdowns. Nine receptions for 160 yards, 3 TDs.
Defensive end Deondre Clark alreadys has offers from Oklahoma, Texas, LSU, Oklahoma State, USC, Notre Dame and others.
It doesn’t take long for Oklahoma City Douglass coach Willis Alexander to have a good indication of where a player needs to play.
He has been doing it long enough to know what fits a recruit best. But he admits he whiffed on Clark and never saw defense as his future.
“When we first got him, we wanted to put him on the offensive line,” Alexander said. “I thought for sure he was going to be unstoppable as an offensive lineman.”
He was right about Clark being unstoppable, but he was wrong about where. He also thought tight end, but he knows how difficult it is for a high school tight end to make an impact.
Then Alexander said the more he saw Clark at defensive end, the more he realized Clark was going to be able to write his own ticket about where he wants to go for college.
And that’s where we stand. Following an incredible junior season, Clark could receive no more offers from this point and still have a list of offers that would make anybody jealous.
The in-state boys got in quick and early, as OU and Oklahoma State were among the first schools to offer him. But they learned, and everybody else around the Oklahoma high school scene learned, he was more than a regional prospect.
LSU entered the race in the summer. Notre Dame in the fall. Texas and USC in the winter. A list of who’s who in college football all wanting Clark.
“He got to play early, but he wasn’t forced to play,” Alexander said. “He got to play along at his speed. He was never overwhelmed. He learned all about how to play with tempo.”
OU looked like a strong favorite because the Clark family has been longtime friends with former OU defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. But the loss of defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp has put some strain on the relationship.
OSU might be a natural fit because that’s where his brother, ESPN 100 point guard Stevie Clark, has signed to play basketball. But there hasn’t been an indication the Cowboys are seriously in the mix.
LSU, though, has reason to be optimistic. Clark visited the campus with his mother last summer and both came away thoroughly impressed with what Les Miles has to offer. Impressed enough to almost commit on the spot.
“I know he has some schools he really likes,” Alexander said. “We’re all just doing what we can to help him make the most informed decision. I don’t want him to be rushed and do something he’s not ready to do.”
Clark has been at junior days at OU and OSU but has put football on a brief hold as he and Stevie look to lead Oklahoma City Douglass to its fourth consecutive Class 4A state basketball championship.