Scout's Take: Chris Clark

North Carolina picked up a big commitment Sunday when four-star Chris Clark, the No. 3 tight end in the class, committed at the end of the visit. Scout.com takes an in-depth look at what the Tar Heels are getting in the Avon (Conn.) Old Farms product.

North Carolina picked up a surprise commitment Sunday when Chris Clark, the nation's No. 3 tight end, made his decision during an unofficial visit to campus.

It's a major coup for the Tar Heels, who were always high on Clark's list but a commitment wasn't expected at this early juncture. Clark, who is from northern New Jersey but plays at Avon (Conn.) Old Farms, holds more than 30 offers and chose the Tar Heels over the likes of Notre Dame, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State.

So what exactly is North Carolina getting in Clark?

Scout.com takes an in-depth look:


What to like
Geez, this section could take a while.

For starters, Clark is 6-foot-6, 247 pounds, plays physical, runs well, is athletic, is already a good blocker and pass catcher and has tremendous hands.

He is an imposing figure going over the middle, and when he gets the ball in the open field, defensive backs aren't keen to take him down. He gets off the line of scrimmage well and into his routes easily.

Clark
A key route for a tight end is down the seam and Clark does it well. He explodes and gets past the second level quickly and is comfortable giving a target to the quarterback before the safety can get over.

There are times in Avon's offense Clark is split off the line of scrimmage, but he is best lining up in the traditional tight end spot. When he catches the ball in the flat, he is quick to secure the ball and turn up the field. When going over the middle, he provides a big target and adjusts to the ball.

When it comes to blocking, Clark has a very good initial punch and he locates the player quickly. Again, he is physical and he uses his strength and size well, and he usually keeps a good base. And whether it is in the run game or pass game, Clark plays hard.

In looking at a few particulars on his junior tape (below), the first play says a lot about his ability, and he does plenty of things that repeat throughout the highlights. Clark gets off the line quickly, locates the ball well and catches it at its highest point. And when you are 6-6 and have a long reach, that highest point will almost always be higher than then defender, so it becomes a matter of securing it after the catch.

At the 1:36 mark, the force of his initial punch is extraordinary. Yes, it is against a markedly inferior opponent, but the physical nature and accuracy of it stands out.

Finally, at the 2:53 mark, Clark makes a nice one-handed catch and then heads up the field quickly. And keep in mind, that is a 6-6, 247-pound kid making that catch. His hand-eye coordination is very good, and his footwork is stellar as well as it allows him to keep his balance.


What needs work
The easy answer is everything since all prospects should be fine-tuning their skills at all times. But when it comes to Clark's areas of improvement, there are a few that will make him an even bigger threat in North Carolina's offense.

First, if Clark can improve his straight ahead speed, he will be able to get down the field more often. That means safety help in the middle to free receivers on the side and underneath.

Second, Clark is a physical runner and can pick up yards after the catching in a bruising way, but if he can become more elusive, it will add another dimension.

Third, Clark is aggressive in everything he does, but sometimes he reaches and is impatient when blocking, and that causes him to get off balance and not be as effective as he could be.


In Summation
Clark is a stellar player, and why he is rated the No. 3 tight end in the class. His combination of size, athleticism, hands and intelligence make him a candidate to be an all-conference performer. He should be physically ready to play as a true freshman and should be a focal point of the offense at some point during his career.



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