A recurring series where we will profile every player on Maryland's roster, counting down to kick-off against William & Mary on September 1. Thanks to OBNUG for the idea.
Today we profile a player who recently moved to the defensive line.
Nate Clarke, Freshman (RS), Defensive Tackle, #71
Major: Criminal Justice
Twitter: None that we could find
Collegiate Stats: N/A
High School Stats (Senior Year): 77 tackles, nine sacks, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, 18 pancakes
Recruiting Ratings: Four stars by Rivals (#2 in DC, #10 OG), three stars by Scout (#58 DT)
High School: Archbishop Carroll by way of Fork Union Military Academy
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
High School Highlights:
None we could find.
How'd He Get to College Park?
We can safely say we’ve never seen such a disparity in the ratings agencies before. Rivals gave Nate Clark 4-stars, calling him one of the best offensive guards in the country and second only to former Terp (and current New Mexico Lobo) Javarie Johnson among DC prospects. Scout had him at three stars. ESPN and 24/7 didn’t have him ranked. That’s just odd.
Anyway, Nate Clarke grew up in College Park, so he comes from as close to the Maryland campus as anyone we’ve seen. He grew up playing basketball, and first played football in his sophomore year of high school. He had a great frame but was really slow ("Frankenstein feet", his coach told Matt Bracken), and after an intense training program he was able to transform into an incredibly quick, huge linemen. Coming out of high school people weren’t sure what side of the ball he would play on – he liked defense more, but projected better as an offensive guard – and Maryland decided to stick him at guard.
Clarke redshirted last year, but was rumored to be close to playing time after winning two offensive scout team player of the week awards. He moved back over to defensive line this spring.
Clarke was selected to the 2009 Crab Bowl and was named to the All-City team. He chose Maryland over Kansas State and was recruited to the Terps by James Franklin, and spent a season at Fork Union Military Academy.
Recording four sacks, forcing two fumbles and recovering three in a 69-0 victory in high school on his 16th birthday.
His team was awful in high school, going 3-17 over his last two seasons.
Clarke adjusts back to the defensive line easily, winning the back-up job over Darius Kilgo.
Clarke essentially sits out a season as he gets accustomed again to his old position.
On the spring depth chart, Nate Clarke is listed as the back-up to Josh Cary at right guard, but we know that's not entirely accurate. Clarke has been moved to nose tackle, where he will be competing for playing time with starter A.J. Francis and fellow back-ups Darius Kilgo and Alex Walker.
The most logical spot for Clarke on the depth chart is third, in between Kilgo and Walker, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him as Francis's primary back-up (and the favorite to start next year) by the end of the season. Even at a smaller DC program, he was a pretty highly-touted recruit (at least by Rivals) and has great size for the position. Better yet, it's not like he's learning a completely new position - he played it well enough in high school for Scout to think it was his natural position at the next level.
Nate Clarke's season could really go one of two ways - he spend a year adjusting, like Kilgo did last year, and playing on the squad team, or he can reach his true potential and become the primary back-up to A.J. Francis. Whatever happens this year, he's a top-of-the-line prospect for the future and should be the favorite to start coming in to next season.
Our next player shares his name with one of my favorite Welsh rugby players - a lock who was born in South Africa but grew up in the same city as the Stereophonics.
Maryland1206 got yesterday's right, bringing him up to four.
Maryland1206 - 4
Terpsfinish - 1
ClickClack62 - 1
Mdak06 - 1
Everybody else - 0