For Chris Clark the second time will be the charm. The former North Carolina commitment will announce his final pledge at Nike’s The Opening in early July, but before he does that he plans to hit the visit trail hard one more time next month.
“I’ll be heading to Tennessee June 2nd, Arizona State June 10th, and then Michigan State June 18th, and Michigan June 19th,” said Clark. “North Carolina might in there June 3rd or 4th but I am not entirely sure. That’s the only one that is iffy. All the others are locked.”
Michigan is unique among those aforementioned stops, as it is the only among them that he previously tripped to. According to Clark there is a very good reason for that,
“It’s one of my favorites right now and my mom wasn’t able to be with us the first time we visited, so she is coming this time,” he explained. “It’s just important for my mom to check out the school. It’s one of my top schools in terms of where I see myself going.”
The Michigan coaching staff has been working overtime to convince the five-star tight end that Michigan is indeed the best of all of his options. Both tight ends coach Dan Ferrigno and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier have made their way to his school in recent weeks. In addition they began receiving a recruiting assist from recent quarterback commitment Alex Malzone.
“I talk to him all the time. I like him a lot and I’m going to be able to hang out with him when I go to visit Michigan, so it will be cool to finally meet him in person. We talk a lot. We talk a bunch, just text messaging and stuff.”
Malzone isn’t the only talented prospect Clark has corresponded with. Much has been made of his connection with Woodbridge (Va.) Hylton OT Matt Burrell, but he insists the two aren’t the package deal some believe them to be.
“I really like Matt,” said Clark. “He is an awesome kid. He is going to get to choose wherever he goes but we understand that we have to go where it’s best for each other. If that ends up being the same school, then that would be awesome. If he ends up going somewhere and it’s not a good fit for me, then I’m not going to just go there because he is going there, you know? It’s important for us to get it right. We’ll see, but he seems to like a lot of the same schools that I do, so we’ll see.”
For Clark his criteria for picking a school is all his own. In the weeks leading up to his final decision he plans to thoroughly evaluate just how well each of his suitors live up to it.
“(It will come down to) just knowing that if I got hurt or if I couldn’t play football for some reason that I’d be happy at that school just as a student,” he said. “That is really big for me because I just want to feel comfortable where I decide to go. Because I’m going to be by myself when I get there. I’m not going to have family to lean on. It’s not going to be like my mom or dad or my friends going to that school. It’s going to be me. I really want to go to the place where I’m going to be happy. Obviously, systems and how I fit into the offense, the coaching staff, and just the opportunity to win is really big. I really want to go to a spot that is going to contend for a national championship. Obviously academics are big too. If you get lucky enough to make the NFL, a career does not last very long at all. You need to have a plan once your playing days are over. If you don’t make the NFL you need to be ready for after college. I think I just want to go to a school where I am going to get a good education and have a good degree.”