He may have a common name but there is a lot that is quite uncommon about James Clark, a wide receiver at New Smyrna Beach (Fla.) High School.
James Clark has found the endzone eight times off of kick returns.
The class of 2013 prospect has distanced himself from the other Clarks and Jameses out there by putting up some incredible highlight film quality plays on the football field. He’s also separated himself on the track, touching 10.4 seconds in the 100 meters. More recently Clark has proven that he’s separated himself on the recruiting trail as well with an offer list that is now up to 21 schools.
“It’s been crazy,” Clark said of the recent recruiting attention. “I get a lot of calls about it from college coaches. I talk to a lot of colleges.”
The first offer came back in the fall from the University of Miami.
“When I got my first offer it was actually a real surprise because we played Mainland and we had a horrible game and got blown out but then the next day coach called me into the office and said that I’ve got an offer from Miami.”
Since that first offer, Miami has been joined by schools such as Purdue, Northwestern, Miami, UCF, Auburn, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Penn State and Mississippi State to name a few.
In general, Clark’s 2011 season finished with mixed reviews. Though he led his county in receiving and hit his eighth career kick return touchdown, his team only had three wins to show for it and that is really the only statistic that Clark is interested in.
“Last fall, I didn’t think it went too good,” he said. “We only won three games. Stats are just numbers at the end of the day. Winning is the thing that really matters to me.”
Clark has done plenty of winning on the track. With a personal best of 10.4 in the 100 meters, he was one of the favorites heading into the state championships but a slip out of the blocks left him with a fifth place finish despite a still blistering 10.8 second time.
At 5-11, 185 pounds, Clark’s unique speed and playmaking ability is what has made him such a popular recruit among college coaches. But despite all of his attention, Clark is reluctant to name any schools that stand out.
“I’m just kind of looking at everything and doing my research before I start marking off any schools,” he said. “And at the same time, more things are coming.”
A great student with a 3.9 GPA, Clark does recognize that academics will play an important role in his decision.
“I would say that the most important factor is my education but at the same time, I want to have the opportunity to get on the field and have success on the football field as well.”
Clark hopes to hit some camps this summer to help him get a feel for some of the schools that have shown interest but to date, the only camp he has penciled in is at Duke.
“I want to make my decision late because I want to make sure that when I’m visiting those schools that this is the place that I want to go and this is the place that I’m going to be for the next four years,” he said. “I don’t want to jump into anything.”