Frank Clark went from an unknown commodity just before his senior year to a prospect who earned many offers and opportunities through hard work at camps, combines and a strong senior season. In the end, the Michigan Wolverines won over the Buckeye State prospect.
“Basically I just had to make my decision based of my heart when I knew Michigan was the place I wanted to be at,” Clark told GoBlueWolverine. “It came down to Michigan, Michigan State and North Carolina. I chose Michigan due to the fact its close in distance to my family and friends and they’ll be able to come to my games and support me as much as they choose too. And I’ll be able to come home weekends in my free time and also I get a great education at one of the superior universities at Michigan.”
Clark actually knew of his decision long before signing day when he took his final official visit to Ann Arbor and informed the coaches there.
“I basically let them know over my visit actually that I’d be a Wolverine. I always knew Michigan would be a great place, even back at the Michigan Showcase when it was my first in-depth look at it, and I saw that it could be a place that I could spend the next four to five years of my career playing college football. It’s Michigan.”
The new Maize and Blue coaching staff was just as excited as Clark was when he informed them of his decision.
“Basically the whole coaching staff was very enthused and very, very, very happy that I was coming to Michigan and I’d be a Wolverine,” Clark recalled. “Even their wives were happy. It was real nice to see everything happen and go on. It’s like a dream come true.”
It’s been a long known fact that Glenville prospects typically choose Ohio State if the Buckeyes come after them, and that the Wolverines haven’t had any luck in the high school since landing Pierre Woods. Even with prospects that weren’t recruited as heavily by Ohio State typically didn’t land in Ann Arbor. Clark broke that mold this morning.
“It shows that only a select few get to go to Glenville and that Coach Ginn, he isn’t a firm believer in sending his kids to only one school or coaching staff. He wants his players in a place that they will be comfortable at, that their families would be comfortable at and third that he’d be comfortable with you at. He was real familiar with the new coaching staff in Coach Hoke. It’s without a doubt that I wouldn’t have gone to Michigan if Coach Hoke and Coach Mattison weren’t there. They played a big part in that. Pierre is like a big brother and role model to me. I was texting him earlier about everything and he was saying good luck with my decision and that I’ve got to hold it down. The whole thing, I know there is going to be a lot when everything comes out that me being from Ohio and the city and Michigan being a small city with a big school and everybody is going to be at me because it’s an Ohio State community, but I’m ready for it.”
Clark made no secret that his favorite defensive team in the NFL is the Baltimore Ravens, and now having the chance to be coached by Greg Mattison has Clark ecstatic.
“I’m blessed. I can’t say it enough. I’m just blessed by the grace of God to have a coach of that level and that stature is just amazing and great. It gives me a whole other outlook on Michigan and what it’s about. He came back to Michigan because he wants to see this program succeed and he see’s something that most don’t see, and I see that, and we really bonded over that.”
Mattison and Hoke have also keyed in and let Clark know what to expect when he steps foot on campus.
“Basically I need to expect immediate competition. Being from Ohio, a lot of people will see me as a threat. But you know me, from camps and everything, that I just go in and do my work and my job, but if things get a little out of control, you know I can be a trash talker.”
Clark came back from his visit and his family were the first and only to know of his decision to cross the state line and head north for school, and they are proud of their son.
“I have family that was from North Carolina and I have family that’s from Michigan and I couldn’t please everybody, but at the end of the day it’s my job as a student-athlete to go where the student is first. I believe Michigan is that place being in the top five of public universities for academics. The superiority of the whole university, I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to go to Michigan over any college. It’s Michigan, the Big House, 113,000 fans screaming. It’s crazy.”
Clark, who expects to hit campus in June, plans to follow a rigorous off-season program to be ready for the summer camp that will take place his freshman season.
“For the next four months, I want to prepare for the football season and get ready. I want to be ready to play ball and go in there like I never missed a beat like I didn’t miss any of spring, so I can compete and earn a position as a freshman.”
As any recruiting process that lasts until signing day, Clarks process was long and exhausting, but to finally have a decision in place and signing his letter of intent for the Wolverines has Clark bursting with emotion.
“Basically I’m filled with happiness. It was a great process being recruited and it’s something new to me. You guys told me it was going to come. It was a great process, and I just enjoyed myself at every school I went to on visits and every school I got to speak with, I thank them for giving me the opportunity to even talk with them and coming to offices and things of that nature. Just giving me an offer to play football there, I thank them for that. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing in my mind where I get to go to a university where I can play ball at.”
Finally, for Clark, after breaking the mold and donning the Maize and Blue, will be to open more eyes and thoughts in his community to convince more Tarblooder’s that they too can head north.
“I’m going to help get more Glenville kids to become Wolverines, because I’m going to open up their eyes to what Michigan is all about. Not just about the Michigan and Ohio State rivalry, but the academic standards at Michigan and how they are a team and we’re coming back up and building a powerhouse.”