Chris Clark, the newest addition to the 2015 class, comes in as a highly touted tight end recruit. As a composite 4-star and second-ranked tight end in the country, teams all over the country came clamoring for Clark’s verbal. SEC powers such as Alabama, LSU, Florida and Georgia as well as Big 10 rivals Michigan State and Ohio State are just a portion of the dozens of schools that were vying for Clark’s services.
Eventually, after a visit to Michigan’s campus with his family, Clark decided to pull the trigger and become the eighth member of the 2015 class.
From the film, Clark looks like a man among boys on the field. Standing at 6’6 and packing on roughly 250 lbs. can help with that visual. He pairs his size and an above-average athleticism extremely well as he routinely wins jump balls over DB’s and linebackers alike, as well as overpowers his opponents in the run game. He’s not going to be outrunning everyone on the field or making defenders miss a whole lot at the next level, but he has the size, strength and decent speed to do more than enough on runs after the catch.
Clark looks to be ahead of the curve as far as his blocking is concerned. As I said earlier, he uses his size and strength well, and on top of that he keeps his legs driving when he locks on to an opponent and uses his hands well so that the opponent rarely gets free. That is absolutely a sight for sore eyes for us Michigan fans who have been subjected to watching subpar blocking for the last couple of years.
On the receiving end, Clark can be an absolute weapon. I haven’t seen a whole lot of the route tree from him on film, but, boy, he is almost always open. He’s a very heady tight end that finds the soft spot in zones and understands seams better than Betsy Ross. Once he gets open, he’s as sure handed as they come and he uses those strong hands to pluck the ball out of the air instead of letting it reach his body. For his high school, Clark is a red zone aficionado and wins jump balls with relative ease.
Prediction: Looking ahead to when Clark will arrive on campus, there’s not going to be any shortage of bodies at the tight end position with six upperclassmen slated to still be on the roster barring any unforeseen transfers, injuries or early departures. So that sounds like he’s destined for a redshirt right?
Well, not quite. As of right now, I see Jake Butt being the main contributor on the team with Ian Bunting and AJ Williams rotating at the second tight end spot. However, the main issue with Michigan’s current tight ends is that they’re too one-dimensional. Other than Jake Butt, the tight ends are either receiving threats or blocking specialists, not both. Now, Ian Bunting and Khalid Hill still haven’t had a chance to prove that statement wrong, but the rest of them have had opportunities and not shown much versatility. Depending on how well Chris Clark can learn the system and prove himself to the coaches, I think he definitely has the two-way skill set that can get him on the field early and often. I think that the coaches will pass on his redshirt and he’ll be a contributing member to Team 136.
Thanks for reading and Go Blue!