Five-star tight end could consider USC

Five-star tight end Chris Clark, rated No. 26 overall nationally by Scout.com, committed to Michigan in June after originally committing to North Carolina in April. He was offered a scholarship by USC Monday.

Avon (Conn.) five-star tight end Chris Clark is rated the nation’s No. 1 player at his position, and with 30-plus scholarship offers in hand, additional accolades and scholarship offers were considered icing on the cake after making his commitment to Michigan in June.

But the Wolverines rocky start to the 2015 season has given way to questions about Brady Hoke’s future as head coach for the maize and blue.

“I’m committed to Michigan, but there has been some turmoil with the program and they have struggled the past couple of weeks,” said Clark. “There’s a lot of questions with the coaching staff going forward and I don’t know what’s going to end up happening.

“I’m still committed to Michigan, but I guess you could say I’m sort of in a holding pattern with recruiting. I’m looking at some other schools, but I have no visits or anything set up like that.”

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian offered Clark a scholarship Monday. It was a timely offer, seeing Michigan’s struggles, but an opportunity Clark hoped to have all along.

“Coach Sarkisian and Coach (Marques) Tuiasosopo talked to me on the phone, and coach Sarkisian is actually the one who told me I had an offer,” said Clark. “USC was the offer I really wanted.

“The coaching staff there is great and Coach Sarkisian is a good guy who has had a lot success with tight ends in his previous jobs. Austin Seferian-Jenkins won a Mackey Award when he was at Washington.

“USC is in need of tight ends too, and they really don’t have many scholarship guys after this year. It’s Pac-12, West Coast and the college has really good academics.”

It maybe an understatement to classify Clark’s scholarship offer from USC as just intriguing, but until there is movement in Michigan’s coaching staff, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end is content with his current choice of college.

“I’m going to see how things play out, but if something did happen with the staff at Michigan, I would definitely take my official visits,” said Clark. “USC would 100-percent be one of them.

“I would probably visit for the Notre Dame game in November — I’m thinking. But as far as all of the schools I’d consider for visits, I’m keeping that private right now.”

While Clark is currently living on campus at Old Farms in Connecticut, he is originally from the same hometown in New Jersey as former USC linebacker Brian Cushing.

“I live away from home for most of the year in boarding school, so while I’m not living across the country, I know what it is to be away from my parents,” said Clark. “It’s not a depressing thing or something I can’t handle.

“Distance doesn’t matter. It’s all about what the best fit is for me.”

Going from New Jersey to the backwoods of Connecticut hasn’t always been easy, but the move helped Clark mature.

“I see a change in myself and it’s been all good things,” said Clark. “Being more independent has made me more of a man and helped my perspective on things.”

With that perspective, Clark still sees Michigan as a good option regardless of the uncertainty surrounding the coaching staff.

“With any school, you have to get a feel for what the campus is like and what the academics are like,” said Clark. “That’s the thing I like about Michigan a lot.

“Meeting the people there on campus and everything, they were all so kind. I’m big on that. With the people at Michigan, I just felt comfortable, so I thought it would be an easy adjustment going to a new school.

“That would be the same if I were to visit USC. I want to go to a big school, and obviously USC has that down. Academically, I don’t know what I want to major in yet, so I’m just looking at the education and academic support they have. The big thing is seeing what the people are like.

“Obviously with USC, the weather is going to be unbelievable. It would be nice to play in warm weather, so that’s a positive. It’s certainly not a deciding factor though because I’ve played in cold weather my whole life.”

USCFootball.com Top Stories