The 6-3, 235 pound defensive end was regarded by many recruiting analysts as the best player in the state of Oklahoma and why he chose LSU is very obvious. LSU is known for their ability to develop defensive linemen and they are the only school in college football to be able to say that they have produced a defensive lineman that has been selected in each of the past 10 draft classes. That alone is staggering and something that doesn't go unnoticed by top high school defensive linemen.
You can say what you want about gaining an education, but the reality of big time college football is that for many it is the stepping-stone to reaching the pro ranks.
Even when top schools like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Georgia, Alabama, USC, Florida, Clemson, Notre Dame, Texas, Texas A&M and a host of others offered, the Tigers and defensive line coach Brick Haley were able to haul in another top recruit and arguably one of the top 5 defensive end prospects in the nation.
It is something that carries over from last year and that is the fact that LSU has the recruiting tentacles to reach out and grab top talent, especially defensive talent, from across Football USA. In the 2013 recruiting class LSU landed two defensive line prospects from Louisiana, 2 from North Carolina, and one from New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee and Nebraska respectively.
In watching film on Clark the first thing that came to mind was that he looked so much like former LSU Tiger defensive end Sam Montgomery when he came out of Greenwood High School in South Carolina. Both are about the same size and have the same body frame entering their senior year of high school football. Both have a long frame and long arms and get off the snap quickly. But what really looks the same is how they both played with good leverage skills, have the ability to close in on the quarterback quickly and have excellent acceleration skills in the backfield. And both were excellent high school basketball players.
Clark knows how to use his long arms and leverage skills very well for a prepster to get around would-be blockers and he gets excellent penetration from the outside. Like Montgomery, Clark knows how to extend out and gain room to work. On film you can also see that Deondre is rarely off his feet and he has very good football instincts in tracking down the ballcarrier.
His totals in 2012 of 99 tackles and 22 quarterback sacks are very impressive along with also rushing for 275 yards and 4 scores as a rusher and catching 9 passes for 160 yards and 3 touchdowns as a receiver.
One college assistant coach who was recruiting Clark told me that he thought that Clark would need to spend more time in the weightroom to physically get stronger and add some weight, but that he has the skills to play very early in his career.
"Playing in the SEC you are playing in the big boy league and it is just not about being fast and athletic, but also matching up physically to take on and defeat blockers size wise and quickness wise they have never seen before," said a college assistant who recruited Clark. "Deondre does a good job in run support at the high school level, but he will need to get stronger to take on and defeat those mammoth tackles you see each week in the SEC. He's a good kid, a smart football player, well versed in using his arms and hands and Deondre is coachable. LSU landed a real good prospect and with some added strength he has a chance to play and play quickly for them."
With his explosive tendencies, his ability to get off the snap fast and play with good body balance and leverage the Tigers may have just landed another Sam Montgomery in Deondre Clark.
D-Lineman University continues to add to the resume at LSU with the addition of Deondre Clark.