Trace Clark realizes his success in academics requires doing a lot of homework. He's also practicing that approach when it comes to football recruiting.
The Class of 2012 defensive end put together a jam-packed June of unofficial visits. He's focused on football programs and schools adept at teaching business finance and mechanical engineering, the two fields in which he's interested.
"My parents always have pushed academics," said Clark, whose three older siblings and father have played Division I athltics. "That's the first thing I'm looking at on these visits. It has to be a fit academically and for football. I want to go to a school where they will help me to get better at the position I play. I want to fit with the coaches, the players and the city."
Scout.com ranks the Wichita (Kansas) Collegiate School product the No. 32 defensive end nationally for his class. He holds 13 scholarship offers, including Iowa, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Purdue, Rutgers and Stanford.
"I'm going to try to see as many of the schools that have offered me as I can," the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder said. "I want to see the campuses, talk to the coaches and hopefully the players and then narrow things down after those visits.."
Clark is scheduled to camp at Kansas and Iowa State in June. He will spend June 6th in Iowa City visiting the Hawkeyes. After that, he will either camp with Missouri in Kansas City or visit Northwestern. He'll then head to Oregon for the graduation of his brother, Zac, who started for the Ducks last season, before heading south to visit Stanford. Then he'll return to Eugene for a camp.
Zac helped the Ducks reach the national championship game last season. He and Trace's sisters, Destiny and Sadie, have played volleyball at Arkansas and Arkansas State, respectively. Their father, Steve Clark, was a standout defensive end with Kansas State in the '70s and played professionally for the New England Patriots.
"After seeing where my brother and sisters went, I don't think distance from home will be a factor for me," Trace said. "I think my parents would like to see me play, but they also want what's best for me."
"That's good to see that they develop NFL players at my position," he said. "Everyone has hopes of having a shot at the NFL."
Clark said he's been in consistent contact with the Hawkeyes.
"I've talked to them quite a bit," he said. "I've spoken to Coach (Kirk) Ferentz on quite a few occasions and also Coach (Eric) Johnson. I really like their coaching staff."