|by Nikki Steele|
Austin Clark, a 4-star out of Lexington (VA) Rockbridge County gave TigerNet the news Thursday evening.
“I have narrowed my college choices down to seven schools,” he said. “They are Clemson, Ohio St., Penn St., South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech.”
Clark (6-6, 296) is listed as the nation’s No. 32 tackle prospect according to ESPN, and he listed the reasoning behind his list.
“I decided that I am going to graduate early, in December, so I need to make my decision earlier than I originally planned,” Clark said. “I plan on making my decision sometime this summer, and I’ve visited all of the schools in my top seven at least once. Those are the schools I am going with right now, and they are the schools that I have the best connection with. That is the reason for the top seven.”
Clark then said that Clemson stood out to him for more than one reason.
“Clemson is one of those places that I was really, really glad I went to see,” he said. “I’ve only been once, but I saw and heard everything I needed to see and hear to make them one of my favorites. I saw everything as far as the facilities, the academics and the program itself, and that is pretty much everything I am looking for. Coach (Robbie) Caldwell, Coach (Brent) Venables and Coach (Dabo) Swinney made me feel at home, and we started building a great relationship with those guys.”
The Tigers already have commitments from top offensive line prospects Mitch Hyatt, Jake Fruhmorgen and Noah Green for the next recruiting cycle, and Clark said he has taken notice of what the Tigers are trying to build.
“I’ve definitely seen it,” he said. “The way I see it, you can’t have just one guy on the offensive line. You have to have five guys to run the ball. Seeing them there, if we can get one or two more then Clemson could have one of the best if not the best offensive lines in the country. That is a positive thing, at least the way I look at it.”
Clark said he wants to take one more trip to Clemson before he makes his decision.
He then detailed what he likes about each of the other six schools.
“One of the main things that really stands out to me about Ohio St. is that I felt at home and really welcome there.”
“I really like what they have been doing with their recruiting class, and I like where Coach (James) Franklin is taking the program.”
“Like Clemson, that is a visit I am glad I took. Obviously, with them being in the SEC and being a really good team, that stood out to me.”
“I have a great relationship with the coaching staff.”
“Obviously, they are close to home and they have great academics. Coach (Mike) London is also starting to recruit really well.”
“Another school that is close to home, and they have a great tradition. They also have a need for offensive tackles.”
Nikki Steele can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org