Q&A With Scout.com's Josh Clark

The 2007 senior class in the state of Iowa is stacked compared to recent years. There are a handful of potential big-time D-1 recruits and nobody knows them better than Scout.com's Josh Clark. After evaluating the prospects at the Scout.com combine in Iowa City last week, CN sat down with Clark and had a Q&A with him about his impressions of the Class of 07 in the state of Iowa.

Williams: Iowa State has already gained the commitment of a great QB in Phillip Bates. Should they still go after Caleb Walter?


Clark: Am I ready to recommend Iowa State put Caleb Walter higher on their list than others? No. However, I do believe Walter is still very deserving of Cyclone interest, right now, and is a guy that could earn an offer at summer camp. His future likely isn't at quarterback, but in regards to Phillip Bates, I'd say it is up in the air whether his playing days will be at quarterback. Walter projects at a tight end. After running in a track meet the evening before our Scout.com All-American Combine, Walter did not test as well as was hoped. He'll have to chances to prove that was due to fatigue. There is no question he dominates on the 1A level in Iowa, but now he'll have to prove to people he is a capable enough athlete to play elsewhere if quarterback is not an option during these summer camps.


Williams: Jordan Bernstine, Colin Sandeman, Tyler Nielsen and Cody Hundertmark have established themselves as the class of the field so far in this class. If you had to pick one of them to be on your team, who would you pick?


Clark: Before we write away Tyler Sash, let's remember he did not participate at the Scout.com All-American Combine in Iowa City, or he may have put up some very impressive numbers. The four guys you mention, though, are very good athletes, perhaps a notch above, the standard "Iowa" athlete. If I were Iowa State or Iowa, I'd take any of them, but on a national level, Bernstine is probably the only guy, right now, although that could change after this fall. Bernstine is the special play kind of guy that can change the impact of a game with one hit or one athletic play. Sandeman is the most consistent performer out of the bunch, and you can say that Hundertmark and Nielsen both have the most upside. There will be a big adjustment for both in terms of recognizing and reading when it translates to college football.


Williams: Which one of these guys has the ability to make an immediate impact in a big-time college football program?


Clark: Bernstine is the most ready to make an impact with his athleticism, but it remains to be seen whether he'll project as a safety or corner in college. I'm not ready to say he is guaranteed success at neither corner nor free safety as he lacks technique, right now, and will get him out of position from time to time. He is a special athlete, though, that will at least be able to make some plays on special teams and be used in situations on defense from day one.


Williams: Talk a little bit about Mitch Houk. Could he play in the Big 12?


Clark: All you have to do is look at the results of the Iowa City combine and you know that Mitch Houk moves better than your average 300-pound high school junior. Still, this upcoming season will be his first as a full-time starter along the offensive line, so there is not a whole lot of film that backs him up. In the film you watch, Houk doesn't play with the desire or aggressiveness you'd like to see. You are talking about some very good upside if you can light a fire under Houk to see him play with more passion and more of a mean streak. If that occurs, then yes, I see no reason why he could not be a starter in the Big 12.


Williams: Compare Colin Sandeman to a wide-receiver that our subscribers might know.


Clark: I really do not like making comparisons, but the easy thing to do with Sandeman, would be to compare him to former Cyclone wide receiver Lane Danielsen and former Iowa Hawkeye wide receiver Ed Hinkel. That is a safe bet looking at the fact he has above average athleticism, is a great route runner, displays very good hands, and will outwork most everyone else. That great thing about Sandeman is that he'll have four to five years to put in enough work to try and become a better player than the two mentioned above. The most important intangible regarding Sandeman is he just simply gets the job done.


Williams: Who is a big sleeper in this year's class?


Clark: Had you asked me this question before the combine, I would have said Tyler Nielsen and Cody Hundertmark of Humboldt, but now they've clearly established themselves. I am a fan of North Scott's Shawn Gerard, a good inside backer prospect. I have heard some things about Des Moines Roosevelt cornerback Kameron Middlebrooks, although, I'll have to wait and see this fall. I haven't seen much of Grinnell's Will Eilert, but have heard good things. Tre-Darrius Canady is another good athlete in the state of Iowa that may be at his best when given a look at another position. Mitch Houk would probably be my biggest sleeper at this time just because you will not find many kids with his size who can move that well. It may be too early to call him a sleeper, though, until he actually proves his ability in pads.


Williams: Does Cody Hundertmark have the ability to make an immediate impact as a true freshman?


Clark: It is still way too early to determine whether a senior-to-be, such as Cody Hundertmark, would be able to earn playing time as a true freshman. So much can happen between now and then with his growth and the hard work that he puts in. Like I stated above, though, in an earlier answer of mine, there will be a big adjustment for both he and teammate Tyler Nielsen from Humboldt, Iowa to the Big 12 or Big 10 conferences. There really hasn't been any proof on film to gain a good feel for Hundertmark's ability to recognize and make reads. You'd like to start seeing him blowing things up after diagnosing the play, rather than just strictly off his ability on the 3A level.



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