The recruiting picture continues to evolve for coveted 2015 tight end prospect Chris Clark. Dozens of scholarship offers and several campus visits have reshaped his approach, providing him with plenty of collegiate options.
The 4-star Connecticut playmaker and former North Carolina commit attended a Nike training camp on Sunday at New York Jets facilities in Florham Park, N.J. Before beginning drills against top-rated defenders, Clark discussed his mindset as he nears a decision.
The 6'6", 247-pound Avon Old Farms product is still whittling his choices. Clark, rated No. 4 nationally among tight ends in 247Sports' composite rankings, recently spent time visiting a pair of Big Ten Conference rivals.
He traveled to Michigan and Ohio State less than two weeks ago, getting a closer look at two programs firmly in the mix.
"The visits went really well. I met some great people at both schools," Clark said. "Coach (Brady) Hoke and Coach (Urban) Meyer are really good guys. They both have a good idea what they want to do with the tight ends."
Clark, who caught 39 passes for 417 yards and six touchdowns as a junior, gave an edge to the Wolverines while assessing the respective experiences.
"I think the Michigan (visit) went a little bit better than Ohio State to be honest, just because I felt a little more comfortable with the players at Michigan," he said.
That result led Clark to call Michigan "the favorite right now."
Ohio State remains a primary foe for the Wolverines in this fight, but Michigan must also contend with an in-state adversary.
Michigan State extended a scholarship last week. The Spartans and offensive coordinator Jim Bollman caught Clark's eye even before a formal offer arrived.
"(Michigan State is) one I really wanted," Clark said. "They're definitely in a good position, too. Coach Bollman is a really good guy and has great success with the tight end position."
He plans to visit East Lansing in June as part of a whirlwind Big Ten Tour.
"That's a school that I really just developed a strong interest in, so we'll see how the visit goes," Clark said.
The trip to Michigan State will come during a short travel span that also includes return visits to Ohio State and Michigan.
There is one premier Big Ten option that Clark has already ruled out. Penn State, a program he visited in March, is no longer in the equation.
"I can see why (James Franklin) is getting a lot of commits. He's a really passionate guy," Clark said. "I've talked to him a bit. I kind of let him know that I'm not really looking there. I just like other places better."
One of those places is North Carolina.
Clark committed to the Tar Heels during a visit on March 16 but backed off that pledge this month. However, he maintains that Chapel Hill remains a possible college destination.
"I still like North Carolina," Clark said. "They're still in the mix."
He also identified Tennessee and Georgia as other options. Clark expects to visit the Volunteers this summer, targeting July as a likely time frame for his trip to Knoxville.
"Obviously the SEC, I think, is the strongest conference in college football," he said. "You're going to play against the best players if you decide to play in that conference."
Notre Dame is another team that warrants attention. Clark visited South Bend in late March and plans to return in June for the Irish Invasion camp.
The program's past success at tight end piques his interest.
"Notre Dame is definitely Tight End U," Clark said. "They use tight ends the best out of any school in the country. There's no doubt about that."
His outlook on the possibility of playing for the Fighting Irish remains mixed.
"It's not that big of a school and I'm kind of looking for a big school," Clark said. "But my mom is pro-Notre Dame. She's crazy about it."
Clark said he plans to announce his decision during the summer but won't commit to a date. He went on to earn tight end MVP honors at the Nike event, continuing to validate the growing hype that has several schools clamoring for his commitment.
*All quotes obtained firsthand by B/R recruiting reporter Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.
*Recruit information, statistics and ratings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
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