Introducing the 2007 Class: Jonathan Clark

It's rare for a prospect to commit to a school without visiting it first. However, Jonathan Clark felt that the recruiting vibe he was getting from the Sun Devils at the time was strong enough to make that bold move. The cornerback wanted an opportunity to play under what he called "the big lights" and he just might get that chance this season.

Jonathan Clark is one of a handful of players who committed to Arizona State under the former coaching regime. In fact, he was the second earliest verbal commit on the maroon and gold's 2007 recruiting class. Ironically enough, his recruitment by ASU started in an unintentional manner.

"(former running backs coach) Coach Wrenn came down to my school during spring practice to see a linebacker on our team, and he was at baseball practice. He also came to see our cornerback, and he was at track practice," Clark recalled. "My coaches told me that this was a good opportunity to show a recruiting coach what I have, so I ‘balled out' in practice." Consequently, the cornerback was told a week later by his coaches that Arizona State has offered a scholarship.

Clark received a tender from Wisconsin a couple of weeks after the ASU offer. Yet, in his heart he knew that he didn't want to drag out the recruiting process, since he found what he was looking for.

"I could see how interested Arizona State was in me, because they offered me even before I got to talk to any of their coaches," remarked Clark. "That tells me that they really wanted me, and they showed the most interest out of all the schools that recruited me. They showed me a lot of love so I showed them some love back." All in all, Clark pledged to ASU three weeks after he received the offer.

The Tempe area wasn't exactly foreign to cornerback. A year before he took his official visit to ASU, he visited his cousins in the Phoenix area. Back then he was already impressed by a virtue that causes tens of thousands individuals each year to migrate to the Valley of the Sun.

"I love the scenery here," Clark explained. "I didn't expect it to be such a beautiful place. I'm used to seeing cows and grass, and when I came here I saw something new that I wanted to experience."

Having family here was "the icing on the cake" for Clark in his overall sense of comfort in committing to ASU. "I knew I would never be alone when I would come and play here," he said.

When Clark did take his official trip to Tempe, it occurred during what would eventually be Dirk Koetter's last home game as the Sun Devils head coach. Clark admitted that it was hard not to notice the animosity from the ASU fans towards the embattled coach. Nonetheless, it did ironically give him a good perspective on why his decision to join the Sun Devils was personally right for him. "You don't want to join a team at the bottom, but if join a team after they had a bad year, you know they have nowhere to go but up and I want to be a part of that," he explained.

The coaching change at ASU naturally put some doubts in Clark's mind. "I didn't know how serious it was. I didn't realize that when the head coach gets fired, all the assistants get fired too," he said. "So when that all went down, I was starting to wonder who will be the new coach and will he like me. I didn't hear from ASU when they were going through the process of getting a new head coach, and that's when I took my visit to Oklahoma State – I didn't know if their new coach would still want me to come to ASU."

Ultimately, Clark didn't get a good feeling from his visit to the Cowboys, as his recruiting coach left Stillwater to pursue an NFL opportunity. At the same time, ASU's Cornerbacks Coach Al Simmons did a good job in easing Clark's mind. "He told me that ASU wanted me as much as they did before," Clark commented. "I didn't know who Coach Erickson was, but then I heard from players that played for him at Miami, and they said Coach brings it all the time and that's it's a privilege to play for him."

Clark played as a safety his senior year. For his efforts he was an honorable mention 2006 4A All-State by The Dallas Morning News and The San Antonio Express-News. During his prep career, he totaled 124 tackles (43 solo), five sacks, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions. While he stated that he doesn't mind the switch to cornerback, he admitted that "I need to work on technique. Last time I played corner I was a junior in high school, so I have stuff to learn. My hand-eye coordination is strong, so that will help me." His athleticism runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and has a 30-inch vertical leap, is also an attribute that should aid him in the transition.

Speaking of transition, Clark didn't hesitate to join a school located far from home, even tough he didn't envision himself doing so when the recruiting process started. "The Pac-10 is a big time conference," he noted. "The big schools in the big conference play under the big lights, and that's the place I want to be."

Clark, who rooms with quarterback Chasen Stangel, is going to summer school at ASU and participating in the team workouts he called "hard but effective." He's aware of the opportunities the cornerback position presents with its unsettled depth chart. Yet, on the same token he knows that they're no guarantees waiting for him. "Right now, I'm just taking it step-by-step," he said. "I never played at the college level, so I don't know how I would do. Once training camp starts, we'll see how it goes from there. I know it's gonna be a learning process."

Recruit Profile

Name

Jonathan Clark

High School

Seguin High School (Arlington, Tex.)

Position

Cornerback

Height

6-1

Weight

185

Date of Birth

9/27/88

Birthplace

Waco, Tex.

Nickname

"J-Clark"

Favorite TV Show

"The Steve Harvey Show"

Favorite Movie

"Bad Boys, both parts one and two"

Favorite Singer

"Ne-Yo"

Favorite Food

"Ice Cream"

Favorite Athlete

"Kobe Bryant"

Favorite Pro Team

"Dallas Cowboys."

Person you most admire

"My parents. They taught me everything I know and they're my inspiration for everything I do."

First Football Memory

"First time I ever scored a touchdown. I played flag football and I was eight. It was the longest run I ever made in my life. I couldn't breathe when I got into the end zone."

Why did you choose ASU?

"There's a lot of opportunity here. In case I don't make it into the league, there are more opportunities here than other places."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Hopefully in the NFL. If I'm not playing there, I'd like to be working in my career – I would like to work in sports medicine or kinesiology."


Sun Devil Source Top Stories