Clarke Gets It Done In Class, On Field

Dominic Clarke is an impressive prospect in more than one way. The recent Ohio State defensive back offer not only excels on the field and on the track but in the classroom as well. Find out what the Maryland native brings to the table as well as his thoughts on Ohio State.

Ohio State has made the defensive backfield a priority in the recruiting class of 2009, and one of the latest offers is Dominic Clarke out of Frederick (Md.) Tuscarora.

The 5-10 cornerback received the offer May 14 from Ohio State assistants Darrell Hazell and Taver Johnson.

"I was really excited," Johnson said. "I had talked to Coach Hazell on Tuesday (May 13) and he said unless something crazy happens in the next 48 hours I'd probably get an offer from them, but I didn't know it was going to end up coming the next day.

"I was real excited because that's big time right there. I had to hold my composure and I ended up going back to class."

The classroom is where Clarke separates himself from a lot of other recruits. The cornerback put together a 4.0 grade-point average last semester and currently is taking classes in honors chemistry and honors history. He hopes to study criminology or criminal justice in college.

Clarke, who was in Columbus for Ohio State's April spring game, talked academics on that trip and plans to return for another look at what Ohio State has to offer academically.

"I really want to go somewhere I can get a good degree," he said. "I'm different from some other guys who might not have the grades. They see my transcript and they're like, we won't have to worry about this guy going to class and things like that."

That intelligence helps him on the football field as well, according to Tuscarora's head coach, Shawn Carey.

"I think he learns pretty quickly," Carey said. "He's a pretty smart kid. He's got a pretty high GPA. He's an honors kid so he's pretty intelligent and he picks up things real well."

In addition, though he's not yet rated by Scout, he has the types of skills that make a good cornerback. Speed is not a question, as Clarke has made the Maryland state track tournament in four events – the 200- and 400-meter dashes as well as the relays at each distance – while the rest of his portfolio is impressive as well.

"He's 5-10, 180," Carey said. "He benches 310, he squats 450, power cleans probably 275, his best 40 is 4.3 and his vertical is 36. As a package he's pretty good. He's got a lot of good numbers."

On the field, Carey said Clarke plays with confidence and thrives on challenges, while the player himself rattled off some of his strengths.

"I think it helps me that I have good technique," Clarke said. "I have good hip mobility and I'm also physical."

Clarke listed his top schools as those who have offered him, a list that includes Ohio State along with Boston College, Maryland, Virginia and Stanford. He plans to visit each in the upcoming months with an eye on making a summer decision.

"I'm definitely going down the 28th because they have a junior day, and then I'll probably go down afterwards," Clarke said of Ohio State. "I'm not real sure when."

Clarke enjoyed his trip to Ohio State the first time, enjoying a personal meeting with head coach Jim Tressel as well as the atmosphere for the game when an announced crowd of more than 76,000 showed up for the scrimmage under threatening skies.

"Of all the spring games I've been to, that's the most people to show up, and it was pouring rain," Clarke said. "The stadium wasn't filled but there were a lot of people there. That's just for a spring game. I can't imagine what it's like for a game day. It has to be just out of this world."

Campus appearance and the experiences of the players already on the squad will factor into his decision along with academics.

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