Wide receiver Michael Clarke (6-1, 185, 4.47) from Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego (Calif.) has seen his stock rise a great deal over the past month after excellent performances at two combines held in Los Angeles. His scorching 4.47 forty and 3.97 shuttle times at the Nike Camp held at USC on April 17 were the best times among wide receivers and second best of all the participants.
Clarke backed up his Nike Camp performance with an outstanding showing at the Los Angeles Scout.com All-American Combine on May 14 at El Camino College. He ran a 4.59 forty on a slow field and was extremely difficult to cover during the one-on-one drills.
Despite the impressive performances at the two combines and earning 2004 first-team all-league honors with 43 receptions for 850 yards and three touchdowns, Clarke has not received a scholarship offer.
"The coaches recruiting me have liked what they've seen on tape, but they want me to come to their summer camps to make sure I'm not just a track athlete," Clarke said. "June will be a busy month for me.
Clarke lists Cal, UCLA, Stanford, Colorado and Colorado State as his favorites.
"I would probably commit to Cal or UCLA if they offered," Clarke said "I don't mean I'd commit that day. I'd talk it over with my parents and coach to make sure I was making the right decision before committing."
Cal defensive backs coach J.D. Williams, who is recruiting Clarke, impressed him with his presentation of Cal and their football program.
"I haven't talked to coach Williams in person, but we've talked on the phone a few times," Clarke said. "I really like the Cal academics, and Coach Williams and my coach (Sergio Diaz) are good friends."
The UCLA coaches are recruiting Clarke the hardest and the Bruins are his second favorite school.
"They have the best mix of athletics and academics," Clarke said. "Coach (Dino) Babers (Wide Receivers) said I would have a good opportunity of playing because they need a speed receiver.
"I would list Stanford as my third favorite right now. They're part of the Pac -10 and are one of the best schools in the country. Even if you're an athlete and receive a scholarship, you must meet very strict enrollment requirements.
"Coach (Tom) Quinn (Outside Linebackers) recently came by my school, and I actually called him the other day. He made a very good impression and we talked about attending their camp on June 26.
"Stanford didn't have a great season last year, but they are a young team on the rise. They also had a strong 2005 recruiting class."
Clarke's interest in Colorado and Colorado State stems from family members who attended each school.
"My uncles are alumni of Colorado and Colorado State, so we sort of have a family civil war going on," Clarke said. "Colorado has expressed a lot of interest in me. I get mail all the time from Coach (Brian) Cabral at Colorado."
Clarke should have scholarship offers by the end of June and more than likely will have numerous offers by the end of the 2005 football season. He is one of the rising Southern California talents to watch in the coming months.
Note: Clarke has a 3.88 GPA and scored 1700 on the SAT (New Version).
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