Difficult decision awaits Clark

James Clark has narrowed his long list of suitors to just five schools; each with different characteristics. He has built countless relationships and made many visits.

The four-star receiver from New Smyrna Beach, Fla. has five favorites at the moment: Clemson, Florida, Nebraska, Northwestern, and Ohio State.

With National Signing Day fast approaching, Clark must decide which factor—whether it's academics, location, playing time, or something else—matters the most to him. He anticipates it won't be easy.

"Until you visit the schools, you don't realize how hard it is to tell the schools ‘no.'" Clark said on Sunday, shortly after returning from a weekend visit at Ohio State.

"Let's say I end up at Northwestern," he used as an example. "I can't imagine telling an undefeated team like Ohio State no; or Clemson, with the reputation they have with their explosive offense. To tell one of them no, it's hard."

Of his five favorite schools, he has yet to visit just Florida, but that will happen the weekend before Signing Day.

Clark has taken advantage of each campus visit, comparing each university's environment and culture. Thus far, each visit—while helpful and unique in their own ways—has made the decision process even harder for Clark by illustrating a larger point.

"I really feel I can be successful at any of those places," he said.

Back in December, Clark made his first visit to Northwestern, taking in one of the Wildcats' bowl practices among other events of a busy weekend. During his time on campus, Clark got a glance at what his potential future in Evanston could hold.

"Northwestern, it's one of the top business schools in the country," said Clark. "They're going to be a Top 25 team. It's kind of hard to tell them no."

Throughout his recruitment, Clark has built a strong relationship with Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, and admitted the locker-room chemistry caught his attention. The most important thing he took away from Northwestern didn't involve the football program.

"The different connections that they have to offer and life after football," he said.

A decision for Clark will come on Signing Day. Before then, he could cut the list to three or two options, he said. The standout receiver is appreciative of the opportunity he holds.

"It means a lot," he said, "just go get a feel for all types of different programs."

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