Ohio State Bolsters WRs as Urban Meyer Gets James Clark Away from Florida

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Ohio State Bolsters WRs as Urban Meyer Gets James Clark Away from Florida
Photo via 247Sports.com

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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