There is no question regarding the talent of Chris Clark, a five-star prospect coming out of high school and the number one tight end in the 2015 recruiting class. He informed CuseNation.com that he will visit Syracuse, potentially this weekend, along with several other schools, before making a decision. Should he pick Syracuse, he could have a big impact on recruiting and the team.
In the summer of 2013, Syracuse held a satellite camp at SUNY Maritime. While there may not have been a plethora of division one talent participating, but one stood out. That was Chris Clark. Clark was offered by Syracuse during the camp after running a 4.7 40 at 6-foot-6, 245 pounds. He put Syracuse on top a few months later, and then his recruitment took off.
Offers from many of the big boys in college football followed. He ended up with offers from Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas, USC and several others.
In March of 2014, Clark committed to North Carolina. A couple of months later, Clark reevaluated his recruitment, and decommitted from the Tar Heels. He ended up committing to Brady Hoke and Michigan in June. But when Brady Hoke was fired, Clark decommitted from the Wolverines.
He ended up signging with UCLA in February of 2015 after having things come down to the Bruins and Michigan leading up to National Signing Day.
Shortly into his UCLA tenure, he started feeling homesick and ultimately decided to transfer in order to be closer to home. After receiving his release, several schools reached out. He set visits to Pittsburgh, NC State and Virginia right away, with the Syracuse visit set a few days later.
Chris Clark has the size at 6-foot-6, 245 pounds and the speed at 4.6 or 4.7 on his 40-time. Combine that with excellent body control and superb hands, and you have the making of an elite tight end prospect. Clark would give Syracuse, should he choose the Orange, a talent at tight end they have not had since maybe Chris Gedney.
Someone with the size and physicality to have an advantage over defensive backs combined with the speed and body control to create matchup problems with linebackers. If you could custom build a tight end, Chris Clark would be the result.
Offensive coordinator Tim Lester wants to feature the tight end much more so than is currently being done within the offense. But a player with the desired skill set is needed. Clark would be that guy and allow Lester much more freedom within his play calling and scheme.
Imagine the potential 2017 offensive skill position players for Syracuse if Clark joined the program. Eric Dungey would be the starting quarterback as a junior. Jordan Fredericks would be a junior starting running back. At wide receiver, Steve Ishmael would be a senior along with sophomore Sadiq Palmer, junior Adly Enoicy, junior Kenterius Womack and senior Jamal Custis. The h-back position would feature senior Ervin Philips and juniors Dontae Strickland and Tyrone Perkins.
Now add Clark to the mix and you have a complete offense with weapons all over the field. It would be the deepest and most talented offense that the Syracuse Orange have had in many years. That is what Clark can do. He can solidify and round out an offense that would not allow opposing defenses to focus on any one player. The playmakers around him would also free him up to do a lot of damage in the middle of the field.
Clark's name still has cache. Everyone around the country knows who he is. From recruiting analysts to current players to current recruits, Clark is a known quantity. Seeing a former five star, elite player choose Syracuse, even after a transfer, would help the Orange on the recruiting trail. Especially in the Northeast.
Clark went to high school in Connecticut but is originally from, and still lives in, New Jersey. Those are two key areas of Syracuse recruiting. Clark's name, along with the current buzz forming around the program given their recent on-field performances, could force top tier talent to take a second look at Syracuse.
The name recognition nationally could have an impact there as well as Syracuse goes into Florida in every recruiting cycle or into the Midwest where they are involved with some four star prospects. Clark only helps with what Syracuse is building and furthers their reach with a five star player on the roster.
Yes the biggest impact is how Syracuse performs on a weekly basis and the relationships recruits develop witht he coaching staff. But having Clark in the mix is certainly another check on the positive side of the ledger.