The 2019 recruiting class in Louisiana is shaping up to be one of the deepest collections of talent in recent years. It could very likely rival the Class of 2016, which was comprised of 21 blue-chip prospects at the top.
The Boot’s 2019 class is especially impressive in terms of defensive back talent. That conversation needs to include Jordan Clark.
Clark is among the most versatile defensive back prospects and athlete prospects overall.
The 4-star cornerback has lined up as an outside defensive back, at nickel and as a wide receiver on offense. He has thrived at all three positions.
A closer look at Clark’s mid-season highlights shows how the 5-foot-9, 161-pounder can remain in sync with the receiver he’s shadowing while also keeping his eyes glued on the quarterback. In the first play of the highlight, Clark’s ability to read the quarterback allows him to anticipate the hitch, jump the route and nearly return the interception for a touchdown.
In a similar setting on the fourth play of the tape, Clark goes step-for-step with the receiver without having to take his eyes off the quarterback. Still, he’s challenged, but Clark makes an uber-athletic breakup at its highest point. More impressive: Clark has no safety help over the top, showing the coaching staff’s faith that he can handle man coverage on his own.
It’s a different story, but the same result in the next highlight. In what appears to be a Cover 2, Clark is responsible for the right flat. He remains true to his coverage responsibility instead of following the wide receiver running the seam. His anticipation paired with an explosive burst allows him to again jump the route for a pick and set the University (La.) Lab offense with a red-zone possession.
Clark also lines up as a nickel, which may ultimately be where he could be most effective. Responsible for manning up with the slot receiver, Clark packs a powerful bunch, jams the receiver within the 5-yard range and eventually forces him into the backfield where he makes the tackle for loss.
At the 1:08 mark, Clark again is positioned as the nickel. He shadows the slot receiver running a simple out route and makes the swipe without interfering. He recognizes the route but is patient enough to wait for the throw and make the goal-line stop. The anticipation is outstanding.
LSU Take: LSU has dished out several offers to defensive backs in the Class of 2019 and holds a commitment from one — 4-star Tennessee corner Maurice Hampton. Offers are out to Louisiana 4-stars Derek Stingley Jr. and Devin Bush, as well as out-of-state targets such as Bobby Wolfe, Erick Young, Chris Steele and Woodi Washington, among others.
However, LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond has invited Clark to campus several times since the summer, including in July before the dead period and again in August for a preseason scrimmage. While LSU has several offers out to defensive backs, the team has not yet zeroed in on any safeties or nickel options to this point. Clark could very well fit the bill in that role, as evident by his highlight tape.
Clark, of course, is the son of former Tiger and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark. The elder Clark has maintained that his son is already ahead of him in terms of his development. At the midway point of his junior campaign, the younger Clark is technically proficient, sound in coverage and plays with magnificent anticipation.
Those traits have led to early overtures from Nebraska, Pittsburgh and Houston, among others. LSU is keeping extremely close tabs on Clark. As are Arkansas and Clemson after strong camp outings there over the summer.
Expect Raymond to continue to evaluate Clark’s junior film and eventually dish out an offer. The 5-foot-9, 160-pounder from Baton Rouge may ultimately wind up as LSU’s top nickel safety target in the Class of 2019.
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