To many people in the Upstate one of the biggest surprises of the season has been the Mauldin Mavericks. The Mavericks have marched out to a 7-1 record thus far and their lone loss came at the hands of a powerful Dorman team that the Mavericks had on the ropes for a great deal of that matchup. Part of their success is due to a very talented offensive line which paves the way for a menacing ground game. That ground game features 2010 teammates Andre Clarke and Tiquention Coleman. The duo has been called "Thunder and Lightning," and after seeing their statistics and film it's easy to see why.
We caught up with Andre Clarke to talk about his recruitment and outlook on the rest of the season in a recent interview.
The statistics really jump out at you and we asked Clarke to recall some of his most memorable performances so far this year.
"There's been a few games that really stand out to me. The J.L. Mann, Spartanburg, and Easley games. Against J.L. Mann I had 23 carries for 206 yards and 5 touchdowns. In the Spartanburg game I had 17 carries for 127 yards 4 touchdowns. Then in the Easley game I had 9 carries for 139 yards and 3 touchdowns. I really enjoyed them all because I played every carry like it was my last and helped my team win by scoring a lot of touchdowns."
Given the fact that Clarke shares the rushing load with teammate and good friend Tiquention Coleman we asked him his thoughts on the shared duties.
"It feels great, me and Tiquention have pushed each other in the offseason to get better and we're happy that all of our hard work has shown this season."
At 5'10 220 pounds Clarke is an imposing sight for most defensive opponents and he talked about what he feels are the biggest strengths of his skills as a game changing running back.
"I can break a lot of tackles and when I'm in open field it's really hard to run me down."
Still Clarke says he'll continue to work on various aspects of his game to become a more complete player. Speed, agility, and explosion are the biggest areas of concern for him at this juncture. His statement came as a surprise to us given that he ran a mind boggling 4.52 second 40 time at the Shrine Bowl Combine earlier this year at Dorman High School. The time was not only one of the fastest at the combine overall but in regards to size no one close to his measured 5'11 216 pounds came close.
With just a couple of games left in the regular season Clarke says he's looking forward to a pair in particular in regards to finishing out the regular season. "I'm really looking forward to the Byrnes and Boiling Springs games. Both of them beat us last year and we want to be number one in the region."
Being in one of the toughest regions in the state Clarke and company have seen many top teams and prospects. We asked Clarke to name some of the toughest opponents he's lined up against. His answers were not very surprising.
"Tiquention Coleman, he is the hardest hitting safety in the state in my opinion. I get to play against him in practice all the time so I know how it is. Then it would be Dorman and Byrnes defenses, they are both fast, quick, and gang tackle on every play."
Clarke's abilities on the field haven't gone unnoticed either. A number of schools have shown heavy interest early on and he already holds one scholarship offer.
There are some schools out there that Clarke would like to hear more from in the very near future like Clemson, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Virginia Tech. The 2010 prospect has already taken some visits to the campuses of Clemson, South Carolina, and Charleston Southern. He spoke highly of each of those visits but especially his visit to Clemson.
Coming down the stretch of the regular season we asked Clarke to give us his outlook and goals for the remainder of his regular season.
"I'd like to lead the team to a state championship, rush for 1500 yards and 30 touchdowns, and make the Shrine Bowl or North/South team."
Asked to look beyond that as to whether he has an idea as to when he may make a final decision for college Clarke says he'll more than likely make his call on National Signing Day. He also shared some of the factors that he'll be considering heavily when making that decision.
"Location, playing time, education, and atmosphere will be pretty big for me."
Clarke had this to share with any potential college coaches who may want to know a little more about him on a personal level. "I'm a leader, hard working, determined, humble, driven, and always looking for ways to be more successful in school and on the field."
He reports a 3.1 GPA and says he'd like to major in business management or sports marketing once he gets to college.
Stay tuned for more updates concerning Andre Clarke as he continues to pile up the yards and touchdowns for the Mauldin Mavericks. Below you can check out game highlights of Clarke in action versus J.L. Mann earlier during his senior season.