Making The Case For: Daryll Clark

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Quarterbacks: They're important. This is the first in a short series in which we will try to decipher which quarterback will give the team the best chance to win.

Up First: Daryll Clark

Eligibility Remaining: One year for sure, will likely meet criteria for a second year because of his academic progress.

Metrics: 6'2", 231 lbs., 4.7 forty

"Services Say...": Clark, out of Youngstown, Ohio, was rated a two star by Scouts and a three star  by Rivals, coming in at #24 on their list of top dual threat quarterbacks. Despite his relatively low raking on the recruiting sites, he was offered scholarships by Nebraska, Iowa, and the Spread and Shred's own Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia.

Ability To Run. Coming out of no where in the Alamo Bowl, Clark showed that he has what it takes to get it done on the ground.

Quarter Down/Distance Result
1 1st and 10 9 yards
2 1st and 10 11 yards (TD)
2 3rd and 4 11 yards
2 3rd and 9 11 yards
3 2nd and 3 5 yards
4 2nd and 10 3 yards

So for you keeping score at home, that's six carries for 50 yards.  Keep in mind most of those (ok, all of them) became uber-telegraphed run plays as soon as he lined up under center.  With a seasoned offensive line and Daryll's hammering running style, we are talking about a weapon that few defenses in the Big Ten are going to be able to contain.  With the threat of the pass, Royster and Green in the backfield, and end around options to Williams and Norwood, opponents will be forced to play him honestly.  Much has been made of his 4.7 forty, with many worried that he may be too slow.  Well guess who runs a 4.62?  Former Penn State QB and 49ers RB Michael Robinson.  He has almost the exact same build (Robinson comes in at 6'1", 228lb) and appears to see the field very well. 

Ability to Pass: Ok, let's just get this out of the way: each quarterback needs to be evaluated on their actual ability, not like, other things.

''Even though there no longer seems to be an issue of whether African-Americans can be quarterbacks at the elite college level as well as in the NFL, we still tend to stereotype our quarterbacks by thinking of the black quarterback being a runner and white quarterbacks being passers in pockets and not so mobile,'' Lapchick said. ''Sometimes that's true, and like all stereotypes, often it's not.''

[...]

''We still have that stereotype,'' Clark said. "That's sad. That's really sad because I've been a quarterback since I was 6 years old, so I know for a fact what I can do with the ball. Anybody can run, but I can really throw the ball.''

But don't take his word for it.

Penn State fans may not know much about Clark's passing skills, but he's already proven himself to his teammates.

''I'm just impressed with how well Daryll can throw the ball because everyone gets this image that he can only run,'' receiver Deon Butler said.

''He has a very strong arm,'' Derrick Williams said.

''Strong arm, quick release,'' offensive coordinator Galen Hall said.

In high school, Clark was no stranger to the aerial attack.  His senior season, he finished with 1,900 passing yards and a sported a TD/Int ratio of 18/6.  Not bad.

Intangibles: While I'm typically not a big fan of the word, failure to show up in this category can lead to things like Penn State's disappointing 2007season frustrating football. 

So for those of  you still hungover from Morelli's press conference no-shows and questionable behavior, I have good news for you: the encouraging quotes about Clark's character won't even come close to fitting on your computer screen.  Regardless, I'll give you a small sample.

It all starts with Clark's backstory

After struggling with academics in high school, Clark had to spend nine months at The Kiski School, a prep school in Saltsburg, Pa., before he could even enroll at Penn State for the fall 2005 semester. With his grades an issue, many colleges shied from offering him a football scholarship.

"A lot of schools dropped off 'cause of my grades," he said. "I really didn't get very good marks in school. And because of that, I had to pay."

All the while, he remained optimistic.

"It’s been a rocky road. (I’ve) been through a whole lot," Clark said at last week’s Lift for Life. "My mother always told me, ‘Those who are patient will benefit in the end.’ The time is now."

All of which appears to be transferring nicely to the football field.

"Mike reaked of leadership and I think that’s one thing that really stood out about him. He took command of the offense, at the line he’s making checks, he let everyone know that when the time gets tough, he (was) going to get through them. That’s what I am working on now to get that trust." [said Clark]

So In Conclusion: Clark brings the whole package to an offense that desperately needs both options and confidence, both of which he can provide.  One of the things that made Robinson great was his ability to overcome some of the terrible play calling from the OC(s).  When the coaches showed their lack of creativity, MRob forced defenses to continue to play him straight up because of the different options he brought to the table.

Clark does those same things.   A minor detail, yet still relatively telling, is the fact that Rodriguez was interested in Clark and, coincidently, the Spread HD will probably share quite a few characteristics with new Michigan offense.  Besides having the talent to both run and pass in that type of system, he brings an attitude and sense of urgency that is more than welcome at this point. 

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