Ohio State Bolsters WRs as Urban Meyer Gets James Clark Away from Florida
The Ohio State speed movement continues unabated as, according to 247Sports.com, Urban Meyer has just landed big-time wide receiver James Clark, a 5'11", 170-pound burner from New Smyrna Beach, Fla. It's especially a coup for Urban Meyer, as he's not only winning Clark's commitment and signature away from an in-state school, but it's also his former school: Florida.
Clark is the fourth wide receiver in Ohio State's class, assuming late commit (and Oregon flip) Dontre Wilson ends up on the outside. There's a theme to all four: They're smaller, none topping 6'0", and they're fast. Here's film of Clark's senior year, and try not to blink—you'll miss him covering 20 yards or so.
That's a great, long stride for a guy who's only 5'11", and his balance is impressive; he's not going to bowl anybody over, but he can take a little contact without getting knocked completely off his stride. That balance also helps him adjust angles without losing speed, and that's an easy way to get a potential tackler discombobulated and readjusting his angle—which means more yards in the open field.
There isn't much precision in Clark's route-running at this point, or at least not much that's evident in his film reels available online, and that's a skill that comes from coaching and repetitions. That is to say, unlike pure speed like Clark's, it's not a matter of physical gifts, it's a matter of work and discipline. So it's up to Clark to improve on that, and one should expect that on an Urban Meyer-led team, that improvement will come.
With the glut of wide receivers coming in and the return of starters Corey Brown and Devin Smith (to say nothing of 2012 spring-game standout Michael Thomas), it's entirely possible that Clark redshirts in 2013.
Meyer would probably like to see him significantly above 170 pounds without sacrificing his speed, too, so a year in the Ohio State strength and conditioning program could help Clark turn into a lethal weapon on the outside. Obviously, his route-running could stand a year of development as well.
In due time, though, one should expect Clark to be stretching defenses and testing the 40 speed of opposing safeties and cornerbacks. He's a major boost to a young, thin WR corps, and Buckeye fans should be thrilled by his commitment.
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