February 9, 2011

Clark wants to build a pipeline to Glenville

Certain recruits have special personalities. Frank Clark could be one of those. Though only a three-star prospect out of Cleveland, Clark has the body and temperament to become much more than that on the football field while off the field he intends to do everything he can to attract more Glenville athletes to Ann Arbor …

"We always have really good talent at my high school but a lot of guys go to Ohio State or stay in-state, but I want to make a new tradition where the best players go to Michigan," said Clark. "I don't think a lot of guys at my school even give Michigan a chance because it's Ohio State's rival but I want to open their eyes to see what Michigan is all about. I want to change everyone's opinion."

From 2002-10, Glenville sent 58 recruits to Division I schools (another nine signed Feb. 2), including 11 four-star recruits and three five-star recruits. Do you know how many the Wolverines signed? Zero. They went hard after Donte Whitner (2003), Ted Ginn Jr. (2004), Jamario O'Neal (2005) and Latwan Anderson (2010), among others, but came up empty. The first three signed and went on to outstanding careers with Ohio State while Anderson inked with Miami.

Clark isn't the most high-profile recruit to come out of Glenville, but he could have a significant impact at U-M after blossoming late in his high school career. The 6-2, 210-pounder didn't start as a sophomore or junior but he came into his own as a senior. Starting 12 games at linebacker, he recorded 72 tackles with 24 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, two forced fumbles and four pass breakups in helping the Tarblooders to an 11-1 mark.

"Sometimes kids take awhile to mature and Frank just needed to mature physically but when he did … there was no stopping him this year," coach Ted Ginn Sr. said. "And what's really special about Frank was he was smart enough to understand it would take time for his body to develop.

"It's going to develop even more and I think he'll have a career at Michigan that we'll be talking about, just like Pierre did."

As in Pierre Woods. The first and only Glenville alumnus to play for the Maize and Blue. Woods signed in Feb. 2001. He had a good career at Michigan, tallying 9.5 sacks among 24 career tackles for loss and 121 total stops, but wasn't able to inspire former high school classmates to follow his lead.

Clark, who is close with Woods and leaned on him during his own recruitment, won't rest until he's joined in Ann Arbor by fellow Tarblooders.

"I know that I need to do well in the classroom and on the football field and if people from the community see me succeed at Michigan they're going to be more likely to follow in my footsteps someday," he said.

"There's no question he's a special kid and people around here will be watching to see how he does," Ginn said. "He's intelligent, he has a personality where other kids just like being around him.

"He jokes with me all the time he's going to start the train to Ann Arbor and that's fine by me. I like Brady Hoke a lot and my job has always been to help young men get into college. It doesn't matter to me if that's Ohio State or Michigan, Toledo, Cincinnati, Akron, anywhere."

Clark is already challenging Glenville teammates to consider the Wolverines next year, giving them a very strong opinion on why Michigan earned his signature.

"Why not? A lot of people around here asked me why I was choose Michigan but I'd ask them to give me one good reason why I shouldn't go to Michigan and no one could come up with something," he said.

"I picked Michigan because it's a place where I can see myself building a family, earning a four-year degree, where my family can watch me play and I can play in front of 113,000 at The Big House, which is the biggest stage in college football.

"Ohio State is a great school to play at but Michigan is a great place too, and it's where I think I can play at a high level and be a game-changer. I'm going to make a name for myself and I'm going to show guys from our school that Michigan is cool."

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