Clarke makes Buckeyes his choice
As a football and track standout, Tuscarora High’s rising senior Dominic Clarke has to train, practice and perform under rigorous supervision.
Even with the numerous watchful eyes of the Titans’ coaching staff, Clarke’s toughest critic may be his 13-year old sister Krystal. And quiet is as kept—little sis’ may have helped Ohio State University land a standout cornerback in her big brother.
Noting that his sister gave her approval of his choice after the family’s recent campus visit to Columbus, Clarke verbally accepted a full scholarship offer this past Sunday to play football for the Buckeyes in the fall of 2009.
‘‘My sister is my biggest critic, she’s like the little girl who was one of the [assistant] coaches’ daughter in [the movie] ‘Remember The Titans,’” said Clarke, of Krystal, who took second and third place respectively in last year’s Under-12 AAU Junior Olympic Nationals in the 200 and 100 meters.
‘‘She will sit there and watch film on me and tell me everything that I am doing wrong. She loves watching tape.”
Clarke hopes to give his sister even more highlights to watch this upcoming season, after rushing for 836 yards last season in eight games. He also started at cornerback for the Titans, picking off three passes. He’s been a standout on the track team for Titans throughout his career, winning several county and MVAL titles in the longer sprints and relays.
‘‘He will be one of the best cornerbacks in the county,” said Tuscarora High head coach Shawn Carey. ‘‘With his speed, he can bump and press you, and he’s not afraid to hit.”
Carey noted that Clarke ran a 4.3 in the 40 yard dash at the end of his sophomore year at the Army National Combine in San Antonio TX, and Clarke noted he ran a 4.41 at the University of Maryland camp the same summer. He has already been nominated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January of 2009.
‘‘Not only is he fast, but he’s one of our strongest kids,” Carey said. He benches 305, had squatted 475 and cleans 275. We are going to have one of the best [defensive] secondaries around this year with Clarke, Jackarie Jackson at the other corner, and [safeties] Matt Scott and Gary Lee.”
To further attract the likes of Ohio State, Clarke has been stellar in the classroom, where he says he carries a 3.5 in his core classes. He also achieved a 4.0 in the fall semester while taking several honors classes including Chemistry and History.
‘‘”That’s something my dad [James] and mom [Barbara] instilled in me since I was smaller,” said Clarke, who would like to major in Criminal Justice at OSU. ‘‘They wouldn’t let me play sports unless my grades were right. I just try to jump on things at the very beginning, so I don’t have to struggle at the end. It’s always easier to work ahead than from behind.”
Which fits into his reasoning for getting his choice of school out of the way before beginning his senior campaign.
‘‘Now I don’t have to worry about making trips and things like that,” Clarke said. ‘‘ Now I can just focus on football with [Tuscarora].”