"He wants to get in your face and challenge you, and keep you off the line of scrimmage," James said. "If the ball is thrown in the air, he feels like it belongs to him."
In a 2008 season that didn't feature many of them – the Pirates
finished with a 2-7 overall record – Dave Clark was a bright spot. The
freshman started all nine games, drawing the opposition's top receiving
threat each week and leading the team with a pair of
interceptions. A multi-talented threat, Clark also proved to
be a dangerous weapon on special teams, averaging more than 25 yards
per punt return.
Recently, Clark became the third player to commit to the 2010
recruiting class of Mark Mangino and the Kansas Jayhawks.
The concept of a dual – and sometimes triple – threat in the defensive
backfield is one with which Kansas fans are quite familiar. In recent
years, household names like Charles Gordon and Aqib Talib have parlayed
their versatility into lucrative careers in the National Football
League, and players like Clark are taking notice.
Physically, the similarities to Talib are hard to miss. At 6-foot-2 and
180-pounds, Clark possesses the size that helped make Talib such a
nightmare matchup for opposing receivers – a fact that Clark said
Kansas defensive backs coach Je'Ney Jackson made sure to emphasize
during his recruitment.
Even so, he's not expecting to line-up as a returner or wide receiver
immediately upon arrival on Mount Oread.
At this point, he's focusing on one job and one job only.
"Right now, they're just bringing me down there to be a lockdown
corner, so I've gotta take care of that first and see how everything
else goes," he said.
According to James, it's a task to which Clark is uniquely well-suited.
"If somebody beats him, he's going to work hard to make sure he's the
best guy on the field," James said. "That's his job. That's his goal."
But what made Kansas the right fit?
Despite several schools from the SEC and the Big 12 ramping up their
efforts to get involved, it came down to a battle between Kansas and
Kansas State for Clark's services. Citing his close relationship with
Je'Ney Jackson and the chance to play for a program on the rise as key
factors, a recent trip to Lawrence for an unofficial visit provided him
with all the information he needed to put an end to the process.
The importance of top-flight facilities, it seems, can't be overstated.
"When I walked in there, it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen,"
Clark said, of the weight room within the Anderson Family Football
Complex. "They had everything that you could possibly need, and it made
me just want to work even harder."
With his recruitment now firmly in the rearview mirror, Clark is free
to focus completely on his teammates at ICC. The transition to James
and the new coaching staff has gone off without a hitch, he said, and
opponents who overlook the Pirates in 2009 could be in for a rude
"This year, next year, it's totally different," Clark said. "I know
we're going to be in the running next year."
Clark Blown Away On KU Visit
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