Guntersville (Ala.) Brindlee Mountain defensive tackle Steven Clark has committed to Syracuse, just days after his official visit. What are the Orange getting in the defensive line prospect? His head coach, Chris Littleton, has nothing but high praise for the new Orange pledge.
”He’s the best player I’ve ever coached,” Littleton said. “Without a doubt. And I’ve coached some good athletes. He’s the best all-around player I’ve ever been around. Hardest working player I’ve ever coached. His strength on defensive side of the ball, is definitely the fact that he has a motor on him. He never stops. He has great quickness for a defensive lineman. He’s the kind of player that if he’s playing end and they throw a bubble screen out there, we’re out of position with no one out there to defend it, he makes the tackle for a one or two yard gain. All the way out past the numbers.
”His quickness is one of his greatest strengths. He’s also extremely strong. We went to the state power lifting last year and he went down. He won all-around. It’s hard to find a weakness on him. He’s right around that 6-foot-3 range, 280-pounds. He’s got a lot of players bigger than him that are 6-4 or 6-5 and 330-pounds. He’s not that type of player, but I don’t think he has to be. He’s a quick kid. We had a play where he was playing offensive line, and our quarterback threw an interception in the end zone. A really good DB picked it off and he’s on the other side of the field. The DB picks it off and he runs the guy down at the 50-yard line. He looked like he had a pick six and Steven ran him down. You don’t see too many linemen doing that.”
From a technique standpoint, there are many things that Clark does well. Specifically his ability to use his hands to shed blocks and disrupt plays in behind the line of scrimmage. Despite that, Littleton knows there will be an adjustment for Clark once he gets to the collegiate level.
”He has real quick hands and he’s real strong,” Littleton said. “He does a good job using his hands. His footwork is an area that he knows he’s going to have to improve on. Primarily because we use him as a defensive end more than a defensive tackle. We had a lot of games where we moved him around a lot, otherwise teams would just game plan away from him.
”So we had to move him around a lot. He got more work at end than tackle, not that he didn’t play tackle. It was probably 70/30 him playing end versus tackle. So footwork and pad level as a defensive tackle is a little different than defensive end. That’s an area he’s already showing improvement on and he’s picking up.”
Off the field, Clark is one of the leaders of the Brindlee Mountain High football team. That is an ability he will bring with him to Syracuse.
”He’s a guy that everybody looks to,” Littleton said. “Not just because he’s a great player but he’s a good leader. He’s a guy that everybody gets along with. He’s a great kid. He’s involved with his church and things like that. He has a good home life. We had a vote for team captain, a player’s vote. He was our only unanimous selection for team captain.
”Just all-around, a kid that other kids look up to. He’s intense on the field. He’s not a yeller and a screamer in the locker room, but he’s intense on the field. He get guys headed in the right direction if things go astray. He gets kids pumped up and ready to go.”