OU back in mix with Clark

A recruiting cycle is so long that there can be many ups and many downs. OU has seen both with LSU commit Deondre Clark but look to be in a good spot right now.

Recruiting can be about connections as much as anything else. For Oklahoma, a random connection has helped the Sooners back into the picture with Oklahoma City Douglass four-star defensive end Deondre Clark.

Clark, an LSU commit since June, is ranked No. 188 in the Scout 300. With good reason, it looked like Clark had left OU in his rear view mirror a long time ago.

But living and working in the Oklahoma City area, Clark's mother, Dorshell, hears about it almost every single day. "When is Dre going to go to OU?"

That question is starting to get answered slowly but surely. The Clark family had a great relationship with former OU defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp. But when Shipp was let go, the contact stopped.

When OU hired Jerry Montgomery to be the defensive line coach, the contact still didn't occur. Montgomery, so busy with other things and getting acclimated to his new surroundings, didn't know too much about Clark.

Once he got his footing, he made his push. It seemed too late, but he never gave up. And now the Sooners are back in the conversation.

One of Dorshell's co-workers has a son that plays on the same peewee football team as one of Montgomery's sons and the Clark family and OU were reunited.

"Coach Montgomery called me, and Dre happened to be there, too," Dorshell said. "So Dre and Coach Montgomery talked and things have been going good since."

Deondre Clark made an unofficial visit to OU last month and also had an in-home visit with OU coach Bob Stoops last week.

That visit has gone a long way to eliminate the thought of any resentment from what has happened in the past.

"For him to be one of the better kids in the state, why wouldn't they want to recruit him?" Dorshell said. "It didn't make sense to us. Coach Stoops took full responsibility for the ball being dropped. He said it was their fault the way things happened."

Stoops met with Dorshell and Deondre for more than an hour. Make no mistake about it, though, Clark is still committed to the Tigers.

When OU sort of left the conversation in the spring and summer, LSU and Ole Miss took full advantage and have been the two schools with the most consistent contact since that time.

For Dorshell Clark, it has always been about trust. It was that way when the family went through an extensive recruiting process with Stevie Clark.

Stevie Clark, Deondre's older brother, was among the top basketball recruits in the 2013 class and is a freshman at Oklahoma State.

One in-home visit with Stoops and Montgomery is great, but it's not going to mean Clark is going to flip to the Sooners.

"It has been a lot of conversations with Coach Montgomery," Dorshell said. "But you cannot base anything on one in-home visit. You have to build that relationship. And that's what I've been telling Dre – to talk to other kids who know Coach Montgomery and see what they say."

Dorshell said other schools are in the conversation as well. She mentioned a possible trip to Florida in January. Deondre will definitely take his official visit to LSU and will most likely take trips to Ole Miss and OU once again.

She said her son has great relationships with the coaches for the Tigers and Rebels, especially the coaches at LSU.

Dorshell wouldn't mind if Deondre stayed closer to home, but she won't make that decision for her son.

"Ultimately it's still Dre's decision," Dorshell said. "Dre is pretty headstrong so I know he'll do what's best for him."


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