If you say the name Jadrian Clark in certain circles in Lakeland, more specifically around George Jenkins fans, you will hear your share of groans. The talented youngster made his mark last season in the county, throwing for approximately 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns for the George Jenkins Eagles. However, during the offseason, Clark and five of his teammates shocked and angered many with a transfer to the local powerhouse, Lakeland High School.
Lakeland has a reputation as a run first team that has produced very good running backs like Chris Rainey, Steward Butler, and many others over the years, but Clark shared how he thought the transfer would affect his recruitment, and did not seem worried at all.
"To me, the way I look at is, if I can win a state championship and be one of the few quarterbacks still playing, they are going to have to look at me" Clark said. "I am more than happy to turn and hand the ball off if that means we are winning. I am not caught up or worried about statistics."
However, Clark did back track a little on his thoughts on statistics when asked about next year's Lakeland vs. George Jenkins match-up at George Jenkins.
"It is going to be a crazy game" Clark said with a huge grin on his face. "I am sure there will be 10,000 strong, and many of them there to boo me when I walk out on the field. That is the game where I want to throw a lot and get stats. I want to have 300 yards there" Clark said as he chuckled.
Outside the transfer, it is business as usual for Jadrian. He is working hard and attending lots of camps and junior days such as those at Miami and USF. He made the Elite 1-on-1's at the MVP Camp in Orlando and had a good showing at the BCP IGNITE Combine recently as well. Next up for him will most likely be the ESS Elite Combine in Tampa and a trip to Notre Dame in the near future.
As far as interest and any offers from schools, Jardian Clark said he is receiving the most interest from Clemson, South Florida, Notre Dame, Miami, and Arizona State, but does not have any actual offers yet.
When asked about criteria for his decision and a time table, Jadrian shared that although he is from Indiana and still has his Notre Dame blanket, he really has gotten used to the warm, Florida weather and would like to find a home with a similar climate. He is also on track to graduate early and intends to enroll in January wherever he goes. Other than that he wants to find a school where the experience of the staff, who they have developed, and the atmosphere they create through player interaction, best fit him.
Oh, and about that pesky debate on playing in a spread offense vs. pro-style offense…
"I played in the spread at Jenkins and now I am learning to play in a pro-style at Lakeland, so I see the benefits of both to a QB, but I would like to be someplace with a pro-style offense in college."
In addition to working the camp circuit and starting to see some recruiting interest pick up, Clark shared that he spends two days a week after school working out areas of his mechanics.
"I work Tuesdays and Thursdays after school on my footwork. I am also trying to get my release faster…work on flicking it a little better."
Those are the areas that Jadrian is striving to improve on the most in order to help him on the recruiting trail and to be a better quarterback. He is already a solid prospect, who throws well and has excellent command of the touch pass. In addition, he has a bit of mobility to help make plays and elude oncoming defenders. If he can master the footwork and quicken his release, he could see much more attention come his way. It will be interesting to watch his development through spring and summer and see how it translates on the field next season.