As the Longhorns continue to explore options at wide receiver, a somewhat underrecruited Florida prospect has emerged as a potential target.
To call a prospect with more than 20 offers underrecruited may seem like a little best of a stretch, but 2013 New Smyrna Beach (FL) wide receiver James Clark fits that bill.
Not convinced yet?
Try this on for size -- the 5-11, 175-pounder is considered a four-star prospect by 247Sports and has immense talent, but he doesn't yet have offers from any of the top three programs in the state, though Florida has been showing increased interest as they try to decide if they want to take a fifth wide receiver in the 2013 class.
Ever since losing Sealy star Ricky Seals-Jones back in June and then deciding to stop recruiting him in August, Texas has flirted with a number of prospects -- Prosper's Torii Hunter, Jr., Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep's Devon Allen, Crete (IL) Monee's Laquon Treadwell, and have even looked at several junior college players.
But none of those pursuits have been that serious, as it's not clear if Texas extended official offers to any of those players.
It may not happen for Clark, either, bu the Texas staff did make contact with him on Wednesday evening:
Coach from the Texas Longhorns called me today and the first thing he said he noticed from watching my film is that I love playing football— James Clark (@GotEmCoach2) November 29, 2012
It is certainly obvious from his film.
As usual, the conversation did not include an offer extended by the Longhorns ($), according to Hookem.com, but was merely to gauge preliminary interest from Clark, who said that he would consider visiting Texas with one of his three remaining visits.
The previous two were taken to Purdue and Northwestern, so the competition for his services is not at an especially high level, despite offers from Auburn and Notre Dame. It's not clear how committable the latter two are.
So what is it that makes Clark so talented?
For one, he ripped off a 10.43 100m time in the spring. Add in a reported sub-4.4 40 and the kid has elite speed, much like former target Devon Allen.
The New Smyrna Beach prospect also averaged well over 20 yards per catch as a senior, ripping off numerous long run-and-catch plays, many of them on wide receiver slip screens that appear on film to be the bread-and-butter of his high school offense.
With his speed, Clark doesn't have to do a lot of juking and dancing to make big plays -- he catches the ball, spots a seam, and hits it at top speed. When he does that, there aren't many players at the college level with the speed to catch him, even with an angle.
As a route-runner, that's not a great amount of diversity with his efforts. Other than the slip screens, he mostly seems to run go routes, though he does hit a deep comeback on one play, a rather tough throw for a high school quarterback, so it's not entirely surprising to see few high school wide receivers run routes like that.
And though Clark will have to work on coming out of his breaks crisply, the straight-line speed that he has makes him an excellent deep threat on the outside in that he can immediately threaten a defensive back with a vertical stem because he's just that fast.
As a result, he projects more as a flanker/outside receiver than as a slot receiver, despite being 5-11.
In sum, Clark is definitely good enough to offer and his recruitment one that Texas could easily step into and become one of the top programs pursuing him.
The only question is whether the Longhorns will continue to slow play him like every wide receiver they've shown interest in recently.
James Clark New Smyrna Beach Highlights (via NFLProspect212)