Chris Clark, the UCLA freshman who rated as the No. 2 tight end in this fall's incoming class, is transferring after playing just one game for the Bruins. This could be a significant development for the Maryland football program.
According to ESPN's Tom VanHaaren, the Terrapins are in on Clark's recruitment:
I'll have a full story soon but Chris Clark is now considering NC State, Pitt, Maryland, Virginia and will visit those schools— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) September 24, 2015
If you follow the right trail of Twitter breadcrumbs and clues about Clark's past, there's at least a bit to indicate Clark might be interested in Maryland.
After it became clear that Clark wouldn't play another down for the Bruins, Maryland quarterback commit Dwayne Haskins (an avid social media recruiter) tweeted this:
The news I'm receiving about a certain tight end will have UMD go crazy— Dwayne Haskins, Jr♚™ (@dh_simba7) September 19, 2015
"Hmm," the probing Twitter user might have thought, stirring a little. "Who could it be?"
A few days later, Haskins tweeted again:
Clark— Dwayne Haskins, Jr♚™ (@dh_simba7) September 22, 2015
At first glance, this could have meant a lot of different things. Perhaps Haskins was in 12th-grade history class, learning about the 19th-century expedition of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who quite possibly saw varying species of turtles on their journey westward across North America. Or maybe Haskins was hinting at a de-committment to Maryland and flip to Clark College in Vancouver, Wash. These aren't things we can know definitely.
But VanHaaren's reporting further suggests what one might reasonably have suspected from Haskins's tweets – that Maryland could pull in a legitimate blue-chip talent with at least three years of eligibility remaining.
Based on all we know, the Terrapins would be out of their minds not to want Clark. But does Clark want them? Again, it's hard to say, but there are a few reasons to think Maryland might have a shot a pulling off a coup here.
For one thing, Clark played high school ball in Connecticut. Maryland coach Randy Edsall has ties all over Connecticut, and it's a virtual certainty he knows people in the same circles as Clark. Maryland also recruited Clark out of high school, so there's some additional familiarity there. But geography could help Maryland in more ways than just that:
"I'm really looking at schools that fit me closer to home," Clark has already told Rivals.com.
Maryland is close to home. In fact, it's closer to Clark's native home and prep school (in New Jersey and Connecticut) than any other school on the list VanHaaren reported. That's not a bad place for Maryland to be, literally and figuratively.
Schematically, there's also Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley's apparent desire to more deeply incorporate tight ends into Maryland's passing attack. This has already been visible in freshman Avery Edwards's fast rise up the Terps' depth chart and his six catches in three games. Those aren't a ton, but they're as many as all Maryland tight ends had combined in 2014. If Maryland wants to accelerate its use of tight ends as an offensive focal point, Clark and Edwards (with Haskins) could be a deadly tandem.here he wants to go to college, all in the name of not giving up some irrelevant and mythical competitive advantage.
Update: UCLA coach Jim Mora's previous transfer limitations on Clark have been lifted, but Clark isn't interested in those schools anyway.
Chris Clark was previously banned from Michigan, MSU and Ohio State, but even with the lift says he has no interest in those schools— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) September 24, 2015