A recurring series where we will profile every player and coach on Maryland’s roster, counting down to kick-off against Miami. Thanks to OBNUG for the idea.
Today we profile Maryland’s only offensive lineman in the 2011 class who enrolled early.
Nate Clarke, Freshman, Offensive Guard
Ratings: Four stars, #2 in Washington, D.C., #4 offensive guard by Rivals; three stars, #59 defensive tackle by Scout; no ranking by ESPN
40-yard dash time: 4.95
High School Stats (Senior Year): 18 pancakes, 77 tackles, nine sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries
High School: Archbishop Carroll High School (Washington, D.C.)
How’d He Get To College Park?
We can safely say we’ve never seen such a disparity in the ratings agencies before. Rivals gave Nate Clark 4-stars, calling him one of the best offensive guards in the country and second only to former Terp (and current New Mexico Lobo) Javarie Johnson among DC prospects. Scout, naturally, had him listed as a defensive tackle, because they seem generally confused when it comes to football over there (jokes aside, their basketball coverage is top notch). ESPN didn’t have him ranked. That’s just odd.
Anyway, Nate Clarke grew up in College Park, so he comes from as close to the Maryland campus as anyone we’ve seen. He grew up playing basketball, and first played football in his sophomore year of high school. He had a great frame but was really slow (“Frankenstein feet”, his coach told Matt Bracken), and after an intense training program he was able to transform into an incredibly quick, huge linemen. Coming out of high school people weren’t sure what side of the ball he would play on – he liked defense more, but projected better as an offensive guard – and Maryland decided to stick him at guard.
Clarke was selected to the 2009 Crab Bowl and was named to the All-City team. He chose Maryland over Kansas State and was recruited to the Terps by James Franklin, and spent last season at Fork Union Military Academy.
More after the jump.
“Big Nate” Clarke
Recording four sacks, forcing two fumbles and recovering three in a 69-0 victory on his 16th birthday.
Going a combined 3-17 in his last two years of high school.
Arbitrary Top Five List:
Alumni from Archbishop Carroll:
1. John Thompson Jr.
2. Eddie Jordan
3. Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje
4. Jamal Williams
5. Kris Joseph
Clarke breaks through over the summer, positioning himself as the first offensive guard off the bench.
Clarke struggles with the adjustment to the college game during his redshirt season.
As it stands on the current post-spring depth chart, Nate Clarke is third on Maryland’s depth chart at left guard, behind De’Onte Arnett and starter Andrew Gonnella. Gonnella is just about the surest thing Maryland has on its line – he’s not going anywhere. Clarke can easily pass Arnett, a converted defensive lineman, on the depth chart, but his biggest competition for playing time will come at the right guard spot, where the backup of the Josh Cary-Pete White battle (currently being won by Cary) will most likely square off with Clarke for the title of first offensive guard off the bench. In an ideal world for Maryland fans (not for Clarke), Clarke retains his redshirt status, gaining a fifth year, while injuries stay away from the offensive line and White and Arnett do serviceable jobs filling in for tired guards.
In the real world, injuries happen, and happen frequently to Maryland’s offensive line. It looks like the Terps want Clarke to be their left guard after Gonnella graduates following this season, but for 2011, there’s a very good chance he could play. In fact, he has the best chance of any of the incoming offensive linemen to see playing time this fall.
Maryland would like to get by with a three-guard rotation (Gonnella, Cary and White) with Arnett getting a small amount of time off the bench. If one of those guys gets hurt, though, expect Nate Clarke to be inserted into that rotation. We’ll see what happens this year, but don’t be surprised to see him burn his redshirt a few games into the season and contribute to the Terps as a true freshman.
Our next player was born in Scranton, Pa.