Chris Clark is a 4 star tight end recruit (according to the 247Composite rankings), from Avon Old Farms in Connecticut. At this point in time, Chris essentially has his pick of schools to attend, holding 40 offers from a who's who of top programs across the country. Looking at his Crystal Ball right now, you would assume that Penn State has no shot at adding him to the 2015 class, but after speaking with him I am not so sure that is the case anymore. Read on to find out what I mean.
How is the recruiting process going for you so far?
Yeah I'm definitely enjoying it, it's definitely gotten real crazy since my season ended. I have about 40 offers now. It is a little stressful too because all the schools that have offered me are such great places. I could see myself at all of these schools, so it's going to be difficult to figure out where I'm going to end up. But that's why I'm going to start taking a couple of visits over the next couple of months so I can start to narrow it down. But overall, the process is exciting, you only get to go through it one time.
You mentioned you knew you were going to be taking some visits, do you know where those visits will be to yet?
Yeah, I'm going to Maryland tomorrow*, University of Virginia on Saturday, and then I'll be at Penn State on March 15. I'll go to North Carolina, and then I'll do Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, and then University of Purdue. And then in April I'll be at Auburn and Alabama, and then I'm going to try and visit Tennessee. In the summer I'll be at Arizona and Arizona State and Oregon, all the west coast schools. It's kind of crazy. There's a lot of school I've got to check out.
*This interview was conducted on Thursday (3/6), so tomorrow is really today.
Do you have any basic timeline? When you're going to name a top group or start narrowing down your options?
Over the next couple of months I'll be narrowing it down after each visit. I'm not quite sure when I'm going to make the final decision, I might make it at the Under Armour game next year in December, or I'll make it before my season in August. Over the next couple of months I'll definitely be narrowing it down. I'm not considering all 40 schools that have offered me, I've kind of narrowed it down a little bit. The schools I'm kind of visiting now and over the next couple of months you could kind of say are the schools I really like and have higher interest in. I'm taking a harder look at those than the schools that I'm not going to end up visiting.
What about those schools stand out for you? Are there certain things you're looking for in a school?
A bunch of the schools I'll be visiting now, they use the tight end pretty well and in ways I like to be used, not just as a traditional hand in the dirt type of tight end. I like to do both, in the receiving game and in the blocking game. I like to play as a receiver too. A lot of these schools I'm going to go visit will give me that opportunity. All of these schools, I just have really good relationships with all of the coaches. The ones I'm visiting first are the ones I really like.
I've seen a few different sources say that Ohio State has been named as your leader. Is there any truth to that, and if there is, what is it about Ohio State that makes them your leader?
I wouldn't say they're my favorite. They kind of were a few weeks ago, but things have changed. They're still at the top of my list, because I really like Coach Meyer and Coach Hinton. That visit I'm taking out to them in March is really going to kind of give me a good understanding of where they really stand in terms of how much I like them. They're definitely a school I really like, but they're not my favorite.
Thinking more about Ohio State and their tight ends, Mike Gesicki came down to Ohio State and Penn State recently, have you talked to him at all about his decision?
Not really, I know of him as a player, he's such a sick tight end. I was following his recruitment and I saw that he came down to those two, and he stayed loyal to Penn State even after O'Brien left, so I guess that means he really likes what they have going on at Penn State with the new coaches and what they have going on with the offense. So I think that's definitely something to take into consideration. Even after O'Brien left he still stuck with Penn State when he could have gone to Ohio State. It definitely shows that Penn State, I'm pretty sure, is going to continue to use the tight end even with this new coaching staff.
Obviously Bill O'Brien had the huge emphasis on the tight ends. Obviously we haven't seen what James Franklin is planning doing with the Penn State offense yet, but does that coaching change push you more towards Penn State or just pull you away a little bit?
Not really, because the offensive coordinator, John Donovan from Vanderbilt, he's going to coach the tight ends and coordinate. That's kind of rare, and is definitely intriguing because he told me he's going to get the tight end the ball. That's going to be a big part of the offense, and that's what they're going to continue to try to do. So not really, because I liked these coaches when they were at Vanderbilt, so when they came over to Penn State they offered me there. I like the coaches a lot, Coach Donovan's an awesome guy. I have a lot of interest in Penn State.
What else about Penn State stands out for you?
They're close to home, it's about two, three hours. My parents would be able to come to all of the games. I have a lot of friends, older sister that go to Penn State now and they love it. It's an awesome college, great atmosphere, great fans, the stadium's awesome. It has a lot of good things, you can get a great education there. It seems like a really cool place to play football.
I am very confused about all of this to be honest, because a bunch of these places are really good fits for me. I don't know how kids commit early, because it's tough to figure out where you're going to end up. I've gotta do my research and figure out where I see myself. It's going to be exciting to figure it all out.
Lots of interesting tidbits in this article. I know that I will personally not be making a Crystal Ball pick for Chris for some time after this interview.
Thanks for taking the time to talk, Chris.
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