Clark Blown Away On KU Visit

Lamar James has only been the head football coach at Independence (Kan.) Community College for a handful of months, but it didn't take him long to see that he inherited a special talent in freshman cornerback Dave Clark.

"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 awakening.

"This year, next year, it's totally different," Clark said. "I know we're going to be in the running next year." Top Stories