For the second time in a month, Downingtown East (Exton, Pa.) offensive tackle Michael Clark was in College Park, Md., to check out one of his foremost suitors. The 6-foot-7, 280-pounder, along with his father, previously visited Maryland Feb. 24 for the Terps-Wisconsin basketball game, but this time Clark and his mother trekked down for a full-scale campus visit.
“I had an absolute blast,” said Clark, who holds offers from UMD, Rutgers, Wake Forest, West Virginia and South Carolina. “The last time I was here it was just the basketball game, but [March 25] I got to see literally everything. It was all about football, and it was really, really cool. I mean, really cool. They showed me everything.”
Clark couldn’t point to one particular aspect that left him in awe, but he did talk up the Terps’ coaching staff quite a bit. He said he had a chance to exchange words with pretty much every offensive coach as well as headman Randy Edsall. Clark called the coaches “very genuine” and said they kept reiterating how important he was to the program and could help UMD win a Big Ten title.
“My mom and I sat down with Coach Edsall for like an hour, and we had a really long conversation,” Clark said. “[Edsall] said the first time he watched my film, he knew I was what they were looking for in an offensive lineman. He said I fit in exactly with their offense, and how I could be a big component for them moving forward.
“[Edsall] said he would really like to see me at Maryland, because he thinks I could succeed there academically, athletically and socially. He was saying how at Maryland they set you up to be successful in all areas – not just football. Like, he was telling us about the internship opportunities with Under Armour and things like that.
“So it all sounded really, really good, and both me and my mom were really impressed. We both loved what Coach Edsall was saying and really like the program there.”
Clark also had rather extensive conversations with his area recruiter, John Dunn, as well as offensive line coach Greg Studrawa. The Downingtown lineman said he and Dunn are in touch nearly every day, and the two have a tight rapport.
“The one thing Coach Dunn preaches all the time is, ‘Go where you’re wanted,’” Clark said. “And [March 25] he said, ‘Well, Mike, you’re really wanted here.’ And I did really feel that [March 25]. All the coaches kept telling me how much I fit in, and they seemed really genuine. Like, just talking to Coach Dunn and asking him some questions about Maryland, it just sounds like a great fit.”
Before chatting up Dunn, though, Clark had a chance to watch the Terps practice. He honed in on Studrawa and the O-line during the two-hour session, before talking to the coach himself afterwards.
“The practice was really cool, and just watching Coach Stud, he’s a lot like the line coach at my school,” Clark said. “He’s very loud and he gets into you, but he’s also encouraging and fun to be around. Coach Stud seems like a great teacher, and his resume speaks for itself.
“And just watching how the line worked, it was obvious [the players] were listening to Coach Stud. They were getting after it, opening holes and all that. The team had a full scrimmage [March 25], and it looked like the O-line was doing work out there. It was really cool to see.
“Then after [the practice] I talked to Coach Stud, and he said I could really help the line, because they’ll be losing some guys up front. He said I’d fit in well with what they do there. Coach Stud is the man; I liked him a lot.”
In addition to watching practice and talking to the staff, Clark and his mother toured the campus. Clark said he liked the weight-room and equipment room upgrades, along with the player dorms. But, really, the new facility improvements, were the standout attractions.
“I think the new facilities, the weight room, those indoor practice fields – it’s going to be amazing,” Clark said. “And the cool thing about it is, my class will be the first ones to use the new facilities. They were showing us a slide show of them, and it was just great.”
Now that Clark’s been in College Park twice, he said Maryland has begun to resonate. To the point where he’s eager to return for a third time later this summer.
“I’ll definitely be back,” Clark said. “I’m going to coordinate that with Coach Dunn and find out when is a good time. Coach Edsall, he was telling me to come back anytime, so I plan to do that at some point. I mean, it’s an easy drive right down I-95, so I’ll be back for sure.”
While Clark was thoroughly impressed with UMD, he’s still not ready to claim any true leaders. He said Rutgers, which he just visited March 7, also holds prime appeal, while he still has to check out South Carolina, Wake Forest and West Virginia this spring.
Clark will also attempt to camp at Penn State, a personal in-state favorite.
“Penn State said they want to see what I can do at camp, so I’ll try to make it there, but we’ll see,” Clark said. “I mean, if they don’t offer, it’s not the end of the world. I have other good options available to me.”
The Pennsylvania product is still planning to wait until after his senior season to select a school. Clark said he’s had several talks with his coaches, and the consensus is it’s best to wait out the process and send out senior film before ending his recruitment.
“Right now I think what’s best for me is to wait,” Clark said. “I just want to take my time with the process and not rush into anything.”
Clark Had An 'Absolute Blast' At UMD
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