"I like the school and everything I've been told about it," said Robert Clark, who made his commitment today when he selected West Virginia as his college destination. "I think I will fit in to the defense they play well, and I like what the coaches told me about it."
It might seem odd that a player would make a commitment before taking even an unofficial visit to the school, but Robert Clark's distance from West Virginia played a factor in that. He will take an official visit to West Virginia once the season starts, but he did not let an absence of eyes on the campus stop him from making his choice.
"It is a little different making the decision without seeing it in person, but I talked with Coach Doc Holliday and JaJuan Seider a lot, and they told me everything about West Virginia – everything I needed to hear. I think it will be a good place for me."
Clark, who has not set a date yet for his official visit, claimed 11 offers to date, including Louisville, USF, Iowa State, Purdue, Colorado State, Vanderbilt, Florida International, Florida Atlantic and Marshall. A two-way player at Dwyer High School, he's ticketed for a spot at cornerback with the Mountaineers.
"I like competing on the field no matter what, but I do like defense a little better," he said. "I really enjoy stopping the other team. I think I will have a chance to compete for early playing time at West Virginia, and that was a factor in my decision too."
Of his other offers, Clark said that the Cardinals and Bulls were the closest in competition to the Mountaineers. While saying that his commitment is solid, he also said that he will likely take all of his official visits. He has visited USF unofficially.
While that fact may worry some Mountaineer fans, Clark's official visit could also swing other potential recruits West Virginia's way. Teammates Matt Elam, the number one rated safety in the nation, and Gerald Christian, the number five tight end, are slated to accompany Clark when he makes his official trip to WVU. Although both are already committed to Florida, getting the pair on campus could be a boon for West Virginia's recruiting efforts.
Clark recorded 45 tackles and three interceptions as a junior, and also snared 29 passes for 500 yards as a wide receiver. He totaled eight touchdowns on the year, and will likely play both positions again this year for Dwyer.
Although he hasn't been on campus yet, Clark is familiar with a couple of players on the Mountaineer roster. He knows of Floridians Alric Arnett and Jarrett Brown, and while both of those players will complete their eligibility before he arrives, he has another tie in his background. Fellow commitment Fred Pickett is a close friend as well.
"We grew up together," Clark said of the Belle Glade native. "I lived there for about 14 years before I moved to Palm Beach, so I know him very well. I haven't talked with him yet about committing, but I have talked with Matt Elam about it."
Clark is the 14th commitment in West Virginia's 2010 class.