May 15, 2008

Clarke excited with Ohio State offer

Patience has paid off for Frederick (Md.) Tuscarora high school cornerback Dominic Clarke. The 5-foot-10, 178-pounder was told to wait by the Ohio State coaching staff after a spring game visit until May to find out if an offer was going to be heading his way and on Wednesday the answer was delivered with a coveted Ohio State offer to go along with a new offer from Boston College as well as a third one that came in late.

"Actually I got three (offers) today," Clarke said. "Stanford… my head coach called my dad at my track meet to let me know. It was a big day today with three coming in today."

The offer from Ohio State appeared to be on the horizon and the Ohio State coaches let Clarke know to keep an eye out for it to come.

"I had talked to coach (Darrell) Hazell (Tuesday) and he said that unless something crazy happened that he would think that they would offer me in the next 48 hours," Clarke said. "I didn't think they would do it today but then my coach called me and we called up coach (Taver) Johnson and coach Hazell and they told me the good news. I was ecstatic but I was at school so I couldn't go too crazy but inside I was jumping."

Even with the jumping feeling inside it is not going to cause Clarke to start rushing or eliminating schools at this point of his recruitment.

"That one is good and I definitely excited to have it but I am not eliminating anybody right now," Clarke said. "(Ohio State) is a big school and they have a lot of football history so I want to go back to all my schools and even ones I haven't been to yet like Boston College and Stanford, that is a far trip but I want to try and get up there at least once and I want to try and get up to Boston College (too) because it is a place I want to visit."

The defection of fellow Maryland cornerback Darrell Givens may have opened the door for the offer but even if that is the case it all hasn't sunk in for Clarke who was busy with a full day of school and a track meet that lasted well into Wednesday evening.

"It still really hasn't sunk in yet because I haven't really had time to celebrate yet because I got it in the morning and then back to class," Clarke said. "Right after class I had to go to a track meet and focus on that so I haven't really had time to sit back and think (about my offers)."

Even with all the offers coming in it doesn't appear that Clarke is going to prolong his recruitment and wants to make a decision sooner rather than later.

"I think I want to make my decision late June or early July or somewhere around that time," Clarke said.

Clarke had a big outing at the State College (Pa.) NIKE camp and turned a lot of heads with his performance. Did Clarke feel that it was a good outing that showed off what he is capable of or did he feel that he could have done more against many of the region's best players?

"Of course there is always room for improvement," Clarke said. "You never can really stay satisfied with your performance because there is always someone else out there that is working and trying to do better than you."

Clarke is now up to seven offers and holds BCS conference offers from Ohio State, Boston College, UVA, Stanford and home state Maryland and buzz around the cornerback is starting to pick up.

"My name is finally starting to get out there more and people know who I am," Clarke said. "I have seen a change because most people don't even know where Frederick (Md.) is, when they think Maryland they are only thinking of Baltimore or near Washington D.C. but people know how to pronounce my school now (laugh)."

Clarke has been excelling on the track this season too and turned in a personal best 22.1 seconds on the 200 meters on Wednesday and turned a personal best 49.3 seconds on the 400 meters a week prior. Clarke would like to pursue track as well in college if that opportunity is given to him but doesn't want to run until after his first season so he can get his feet wet and learn the offense before taking on a second challenge.

The senior-to-be made an impact during his junior season rushing for more than 800 yards and five touchdowns as a running back while recording 38 tackles, three interceptions and five pass break ups as a cornerback. Getting past the NCAA Clearinghouse should not be a tall task for Clarke with a 3.75 GPA including a 4.0 GPA during the most recent semester at Tuscarora high school and would like to major in either Criminology or Criminal Justice in college. Is there any chance that Clarke may look to graduate early to get the jump on his freshman year?

"I asked some coaches about what they think about it and they say it is good to jump but they also say that you only get to be a senior once," Clarke said. "Once you get to college it is hard work and dedication and it is football 24/7."

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