When 2015 Avon (Conn.) Old Farms four-star tight end Chris Clark verbally committed to Coach Larry Fedora and the North Carolina football program back on March 16, the news came a bit out of the blue.
Holding offers from nearly all of the big time programs in college football, including the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Ohio State, and several others, the recruitment appeared to be far from over from the outside looking in.
Not long afterward, Clark announced he would still take visits despite his commitment to the Tar Heels, with trips to check out the Buckeyes and their arch rival Michigan this spring.
Saturday, with visits planned and after careful consideration with his family, Clark decided to officially announce his decommitment from North Carolina.
“I just kind of realized that I want to check out a couple other schools,” Clark said Monday. “And when I take visits I want to be open minded and not kind of have the obligation to another school knowing I’m committed to them.
“I kind of just thought, for me, to open up my recruitment and take a visit to Michigan, Ohio State and Auburn and kind of just have a thing where I’m going into the trips thinking I could end up at those schools.
“I don’t really want to feel obligated to still be a commit to UNC when I feel I need to do this for myself to figure out what the best decision (is).”
Now unfettered Clark will see Michigan and Ohio State back-to-back this week, in Ann Arbor Thursday night into Friday before heading off to Columbus to visit Saturday before flying home Sunday.
With Michigan’s new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier acclimating himself to the Wolverines on the field this spring, Nussmeier has also ingratiated himself into the recruiting game, quickly looking to build a relationship with the 6-foot-6, 247-pound Clark.
Though tight ends weren’t featured greatly in Nussmeier’s two seasons at Alabama, Clark says he’s gone out of his way to emphasize how he’ll utilize the position with the Wolverines.
“Coach Nussmeier is awesome,” Clark said. “I talk to him all the time and Coach (Dan) Ferrigno too. So, I’ve built a good bond with those guys and he’s (Nussmeier) just made a good point that coming with Michigan’s offense, I know what he did at Alabama, they were kind of a run first team and didn’t use the tight end that much but at the same time that may have been Coach Saban’s thinking.
“He loves the tight end position so he feels like at Michigan he’s going to have a great opportunity to do a lot of different things with the tight end position.”
Leading up to this weekend’s slate of visits, Clark is looking at things a little differently. Having already made a commitment before quickly rescinding it, Clark plans to take a much more business like approach on trips from here on out.
“I’m the type of kid that when I go on these visits I tend to like all these schools,” Clark said. “So, just kind of the same things that I look for at other schools when I go on visits but now I’m going to take these visits a lot more serious and really ask the questions that need to be asked to the coaches and just get a feel with the players, what they’re like.
“Now, I went back on my word once and I had a tough time doing that and so now it’s all serious stuff. I really got to figure out where I’m going to play college football. So, these next three visits are really important.”
Clark also plans to visit Auburn for a big visit weekend at the end of May and beginning of June.
Following these three visits, Clark isn’t sure what direction his decision making process will head, or how quickly it could come to a close, but the four-star talent knows when he makes a decision this time he doesn’t want to turn back.
“At that point I still honestly might take more time to still kind of figure it out,” Clark said. “And maybe I might throw in another visit, maybe to Nebraska, but that’s kind of just play it by ear type stuff with the other schools.
“Those three are the ones I’m positive about going and visiting but I’m definitely not going to rush a decision again, not this time.
“I’ll figure it out but I’m definitely going to take my time now with this decision.”