Greatest Treasures: The Legacy of Penn State's Daryll Clark

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Greatest Treasures: The Legacy of Penn State's Daryll Clark
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

 

It’s settled. Daryll Clark is the man.

You can’t argue it anymore. And how could you? The critics have spoken, and Clark has responded time and time again.

Through years of ups and downs, tough wins and heartbreaking losses, he has managed to lead his Nittany Lion teams to a career 22-4 record, with three of the four losses against BCS bowl-winning teams.

You might hear analysts saying “he can’t win the big one,” or “he struggles in tough games,” but who hasn’t at some point? The best quarterbacks in history hit rough patches.

They had to - it's the best way to pick yourself up and learn from it - and build character. And if you know Daryll Clark, you know he's got character. If I could steal a line from Bubba Sparxxx - "losers make excuses, winners make it happen." I can tell you firsthand that's a probable calling card of his.

Football is a team sport, and he’d be the first to tell you that. You win and lose as a team, losses cannot be placed solely on one player’s shoulders, and victories rarely result from one man's efforts.

(With the exception of the 2007 Alamo Bowl, where Clark was brought in and proceeded to rush for 50 yards on six carries with a touchdown, providing that offensive spark the Nittany Lions needed to come back from a 14-0 deficit to win the game. But that’s a different story.)

Let’s go ahead and get the records out of the way. In just two years of being a starting quarterback, with assorted appearances in the first half of his career, Clark has managed to put up impressive career records with a potent Nittany Lion offense.

Given the overall respect Penn State has acquired in its history, and with the many great quarterbacks to run through Beaver Stadium’s tunnels, “D.C.” is the one who has records no other player can boast. Clark has the top spot in the following categories:

-         Career touchdown passes

-         Season touchdown passes

-         Season passing yards

-         Career overall touchdowns

-         Season overall touchdowns

That’s impressive, to say the least.

Not to mention he’s a two-time All-Big Ten player and a stand-up guy on and off the field.

I should know, I had the opportunity to meet him two years ago while we both were in our junior years at Penn State.

Now, for those of you who have attended a major athletic school in the past, and had the chance of meeting a big-time, widely-known varsity athlete, you know how it can be—the stars run the campus, regardless of the sport. They’re usually the celebrities that keep to their fellow teammates, walking in groups with loads of other students staring or otherwise asking for a picture or autograph.

And why not? Many have a high chance of making the big bucks on a professional level, being known nationwide, and probably visible on that popular ESPN channel everyone talks about.

I don’t necessarily want to say they’re egotistical or cocky, but they have a swagger about them that screams, “This is my house, I’ll talk to you if I feel like it.”

Not Daryll.

I was introduced by a fellow classmate of his, and upon which he held out his hand, looked me in the eye and said, “Nice to meet you, buddy.” My friends and I were surprised when he continued a conversation with us about school, classes, and partying, the main bullet points for any student attending Penn State.

I got lucky I went to Penn State during the years I did. I’ll always remember the exciting years our football team had and the great players that made it happen. Having the opportunity to congratulate Daryll on graduation day before we both received our College of Communications B.A. degree was also a plus.

The D.C. era will be one to remember, certainly, but for those who know the guy off the field, they know that he deserves whatever praise he receives.

I wish him luck in the NFL. Chances are he’ll do well on the next level, following the footsteps of Michael Robinson. Whatever happens, though, the Penn State faithful know he’ll always be a Nittany Lion at heart.

Go get 'em, D.C.

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