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Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Door reopens for Sooners, DE Sekou Clark

By Bob Przybylo

CARROLLTON, Texas -- His predecessor was ranked No. 1 in the ESPN 150, so Denton (Texas) Ryan defensive end Sekou Clark learned quickly about how the recruiting process works.

Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. was ranked No. 1 for the Class of 2012, and a lot of people were saying Clark, a Class of 2014 prospect, wasn’t going to be a major dropoff from Edwards.

The offers were going to flow once Edwards moved on. Clark’s junior season was going to be his breakout year where he became a “can’t-miss” prospect.

Sekou Clark
It's been slower than he expected, but Sekou Clark is starting to see increased interest and offers.
He had a solid junior season, but the offers never materialized. Interest was definitely there, as schools from all over the country showed big-time interest for Clark. But offers weren't extended.

It was frustrating at times for Clark because he didn’t know what he was missing. He would compete with other ends that have offers in games and in camp settings and know in his heart he belongs on their level.

His coach doesn’t disagree.

“He’s got the body and the frame. We’re not worried at all,” Denton Ryan coach Joey Florence said. “He started to play a lot better toward the end of the season, and he’s had a great offseason. He needs to be more aggressive, but he’s a great kid with all the physical skills. A lot of schools are always asking about him and wanting to watch him.”

Clark, who is 6-foot-3 and 233 pounds, is on the board now with offers from Washington State, Tulane and Louisiana Monroe. But an old acquaintance got reunited with Clark this last weekend.

Oklahoma was one of the first schools to show huge interest in Clark. He camped at OU going into his freshman season, and OU was among the finalists for Edwards. Although he signed with Florida State, it definitely gave the OU coaches a chance to get to know Clark.

He camped in Norman for two more summers and made several unofficial visits during the 2012 season. The Sooners were always in communication with Clark. Then it stopped. Completely.

No junior days. No spring game. No real communication. Clark thought OU had moved on from him.

But OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh was willing to give it one more effort with Clark.

“One day I saw OU at practice, and it was Coach Bedenbaugh,” Clark said. “A couple of days later I got a red ink letter from Coach Bedenbaugh saying how much they would love for me to be at one of their camps.”

Clark wasn’t in Norman for the three-day event, but he was there last Saturday for the satellite camp in Carrollton, Texas.

A lot bigger and maybe a little bit faster since the last time the Sooners coaches saw him, Clark was easily the most impressive defensive lineman at the camp.

It was obvious that while OU defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery was giving instructions to everybody, he was paying special attention to Clark.

“Coach Bedenbaugh said he liked everything I did,” Clark said. “Coach Montgomery said the same thing. I’m getting bigger and stronger and faster. And I’m getting leaner.”

Montgomery gave it to him straight.

“He said he loves my pass rush,” Clark said. “If it was just pass rush, I’d have the offer. He said he needs to watch my film one more time and look at how I can stop the run and handle the running game.”

OU doesn’t have a defensive line commit for its class at this juncture. Montgomery is not rushing to land a prospect just to say he has one, but the spring evaluation period saw Montgomery make a few offers.

The last two weeks of camps saw a few prospects who might emerge with offers. Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington defensive end Jordan Brailford comes to mind and Irving (Texas) Ranchview defensive lineman Brandon Glenn did earn one Tuesday.

Clark has put himself in the conversation. It feels good to be wanted, he said, but he won’t dwell on the situation if he doesn’t get an offer.

“I was getting a little frustrated,” Clark said. “But I looked at other schools, too, when I thought I was done with OU. If it don’t work, it don’t work. I can’t sit here and cry about it.”

Clark has also camped at the Arizona State/Sam Houston State combo event last week and intends to camp at SMU and North Texas, among other places this summer.