Maryland head coach Randy Edsall handed out a number of offensive line offers recently, and one of those offerees just took his first College Park, Md., visit Feb. 24. Downingtown East (Exton, Pa.) tackle Michael Clark pulled his UMD verbal the day before and immediately opted to visit Maryland.
“It was totally a spur of the moment thing. I hadn’t really even spoken to Maryland much, but the offer came [Feb. 23] and me and my dad said, ‘Well, let’s go check it out,’” said Clark, who also holds verbals from South Carolina, Wake Forest and West Virginia. “And I’m glad we went down there, because it was a good trip. I thought it was a beautiful campus, I really liked the coaching staff, and just the program in general was impressive. Maryland has a lot to offer academics-wise, football-wise and socially.”
Clark said he and his father especially enjoyed speaking to area recruiter John Dunn and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa. The 6-foot-7, 280-pounder called both coaches “cool” and “good guys to talk to.”
“Coach Stud just seems like a great coach and I really liked his attitude,” Clark said. “And Coach Dunn, he’s someone you can relate to and someone I’m looking forward to getting to know as I go through this process. But the staff in general [at Maryland] was really good; I liked everyone I met there.”
Including the headman himself.
“Coach Edsall seems like someone you want to win for,” Clark said. “Just the way he was talking and his enthusiasm about Maryland, he seems like someone you want to play for.”
The Downingtown recruit went on to laud Byrd Stadium, the various academic buildings and the new facilities the school should have ready by 2017. Clark also talked up the Maryland-Wisconsin basketball game that he and his father took in that evening.
“The atmosphere inside that [arena] was awesome,” Clark said. “Maryland fans are electric.”
Clark could potentially return to College Park for a spring practice or later during the year. In the meantime, though, he’ll be checking out various other locales.
He was just at Penn State Feb. 28 and will be at Rutgers March 7. After that, he plans to take a southern swing through South Carolina, Wake Forest and North Carolina, while a trip to West Virginia is also in the works. Clark also wants to attend a one-day camp at Ohio State and UNC to try and cull out offers from each.
Although he doesn’t want to name early leaders, it’s clear in-state Penn State has his attention.
“Penn State was a really good visit; I’ve been there a couple times and it’s a school I like a lot,” Clark said. “The coaches [at PSU] said they’re reevaluating everything, and I’m a top priority for them. So to get an offer from them would be awesome. I grew up watching [PSU] and it would be really cool to have a chance to play there. I could maybe commit to them if they offered. Coach Franklin, Coach Hand and Coach Gattis, I’ve been talking to them a lot, and they’re awesome.”
Besides PSU, Clark also mentioned Maryland, South Carolina and Rutgers as programs that have caught his eye.
“I liked Rutgers a lot when I was there for a game, and I want to get back to see more of the campus and learn more,” Clark said. “South Carolina, they’re in the SEC and I like them too. I’m looking forward to seeing them for spring ball. And Maryland, just really good coaches and a good program all-around.”
Clark said the main factors in his recruitment will be education (he wants to major in business), the coaches he’s most comfortable with, and how he fits in with potential teammates
The Pennsylvania product has no intentions of ending his recruitment anytime soon, however.
“I’m going to wait until after my senior season to see how many doors will open for me in the fall,” Clark said. “So maybe like late November, December I’ll sit down with my parents and coaches and we’ll talk things over then.”
Clark is coming off his first varsity season, which he called an “adjustment” for him. He said after a couple initial bumps, though, he put together a fine junior campaign.
“I think I did well, but I think I could’ve done better going back and watching film,” Clark said. “I’ve been going over things with my offensive line coach, just like my hand placement and my run blocking technique. This was my first year playing varsity, so I wasn’t as used to it, but after about four games I got things down. But there’s still plenty of room to improve.”
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