With his first offer in hand, Sioux City (IA) running back Saybein Clark figured he should get a closer look at Iowa State. So last month, he ventured to Ames.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound 2018 athlete from Bishop Heelan was surprised in late April when a phone call from his coach’s office to Iowa State Director of High School Relations Mitchell Moore turned into an offer from the Cyclones. When he arrived on campus for a closer glimpse last month, Clark was equally surprised.
“I wanted to go around campus and see their advancements and everything and I was actually impressed with the facilities and the whole campus was pretty cool,” Clark said. “When I looked at all the technology they use in their weight room, they have all of the athletes perform to the best of their ability and they really put emphasis on that. Me coming from a high school, I’ve never seen so much technology in a weight room to help people get more athletic and bigger and stronger and faster. It’s just breathtaking the technology they had in there because I had no idea some of it existed.”
Clark quickly impressed Iowa State this spring after it saw him during the spring evaluation period at Bishop Heelan. He was one of the staff’s first offerees in the 2018 class and is currently one of only five in-state prospects to be offered.
Iowa State is currently recruiting Clark, who rushed for 1,666 yards and 19 touchdowns on 239 carries (7.0 yards per carry) last fall as a sophomore, as a running back, though he is currently classified as an athlete due to his versatility.
“They said Coach [Jon] Heacock was talking about how they could use me at linebacker, that my size and my athleticism, it’s useable on the defensive side too,” Clark said. “If I’m good enough and I can help the team at any position, I said I don’t really mind as long as I’m helping the team. They said, ‘We’re going to recruit you at running back, but if it comes down to it and we feel like you’re going to help the team at a different position and make a bigger impact, we’ll move you.’ I totally agreed with them on that.”
That was one of many messages from Matt Campbell during Clark’s mid-May trip to Ames.
“He tried to get the message across,” Clark said. “He said he had a criteria set for his players that he’s recruiting and he said he spoke to other people — my teachers, coaches, other coaches of other teams — and he said I met all of his criteria and he said I’m the type of player he liked to recruit and knows he can build off of because he just said I would make the team better, be a great leader on and off the field and just be good academically.
“He gives off a certain atmosphere, it’s almost inspirational and motivational, for sure. I kept looking at him and I just knew that when we made eye contact I was getting every word. I could hear every word he was saying and I could just tell that he meant it. He was straightforward with me and that’s what I wanted.”
Clark will camp at Nebraska on Friday before camping at Iowa State on June 25 and Iowa on June 26 ahead of his junior season this fall.