Less than two weeks after landing a commitment from 4-star tight end Chris Clark, North Carolina may be feeling some concern about his potential outlook in Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heels' top-rated pledge plans to follow his upcoming Notre Dame visit with trips to Michigan and Ohio State, according to 247Sports reporter Alex Gleitman (subscription required).
Clark, a Connecticut product from Avon Old Farms High School, holds dozens of offers. His scholarship list includes Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Nebraska and Miami.
He's been busy this month, spending time with coaching staffs at Penn State, Maryland and Virginia. Clark elected to announce North Carolina as his choice on March 16, during a campus visit:
I am proud to say I have officially committed to North Carolina had to go with my heart this place feels like home pic.twitter.com/0ohEkYB2T2— Chris Clark (@Clark8Chris) March 16, 2014
But with journeys to Columbus, South Bend and Ann Arbor on the horizon, it's fair to wonder how firmly the team fits into his future plans.
The 6'6", 247-pound prospect was the second of three Tar Heel commits in an eight-day span. He joined quarterback Anthony Ratliff and cornerback Corey Bell as the newest members of North Carolina's 2015 class, which ranks 22nd nationally in 247Sports composite ratings.
"To a lot of people (the North Carolina commitment is) going to be a big surprise," Clark told 247Sports reporter Steve Wiltfong following his decision. "I just feel real good with the coaching staff and where they're headed in the ACC. Coach (Seth) Littrell knows how to use the tight end so I'm real excited to play in his offense."
Clark is the lone 4-star prospect among North Carolina's five pledges. He caught 39 passes for 417 yards and six touchdowns as a junior, leading his team to an 8-2 season.
Clark deserves serious consideration in any conversation about the top pass targets of his class, regardless of position. His route-running skills are precise and he presents an ideal downfield outlet for the quarterback.
He plays without hesitation and attacks the secondary with physicality and confidence. Clark looks smooth operating against tight coverage and flashes outstanding hands, even when forced to become acrobatic in the air.
His dominance as a blocker makes him as balanced as any tight end in America.
He's listed No. 3 nationally among prospects at the position in 247Sports' composite rankings. It's clear to see why North Carolina was thrilled to secure an early commitment from the versatile offensive weapon.
"I could go out and look at the other schools but why do that when I have this great atmosphere at UNC," Clark told 247Sports at the time. "Done. No visits. The coaches don't want the commits doing that, so I won't do that."
It appears he's had a quick change of heart.
Clark is scheduled to visit Notre Dame this weekend. The Fighting Irish extended an offer in February and boast a strong tradition at tight end.
Current NFL players John Carlson (Arizona Cardinals), Tyler Eifert (Cincinnati Bengals), Anthony Fasano (Kansas City Chiefs) and Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings) each emerged at Notre Dame.
He may immediately follow the stay in South Bend with a trip to Michigan, according to 247Sports.
The Wolverines welcomed new offense coordinator Doug Nussmeier from Alabama in January, and Clark is exactly the kind of prospect who could light a spark in his recruiting efforts. Michigan is still searching for a 2015 quarterback and watched 5-star running back Damien Harris decommit during the winter.
A visit with the Buckeyes will occur in late April, according to ElevenWarriors.com reporter Jeremy Birmingham:
Chris Clark, the nations top TE, will visit #Buckeyes in late April, tentatively the 25th.— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) March 25, 2014
Ohio State eyes up Clark as a legitimate immediate impact player who can add a new dynamic to an offense finally beginning to fill up with Meyer's own recruits. To make matters even more concerning for North Carolina, few coaches can make a convincing sales pitch like the Buckeyes' leader.
Will 4-star TE Chris Clark play college football for North Carolina?
Clark's commitment to the Tar Heels surprised many because of its timing. The early pledge may already be in peril as he continues to consider several programs with more impressive track records of sustained success.
"This is the biggest decision I have ever had to make in my life so far," Clark told 247Sports last week. "If I have to take a couple more visits that's okay because it's very important to me to make sure North Carolina is 100 percent the right place for me. ... I just want to make sure I am making the right decision."