KFHS junior commits to Hokies
Published 9:25 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2012
By Matthew Hatfield
For a few years now, King’s Fork Class of 2013 defensive back Charles Clark has been regarded as one of the top football players in the talent-rich Hampton Roads area, drawing attention from several high-profile colleges around the country.
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It was long speculated that one ACC program would be the front-runner for Clark’s services. Those thoughts were confirmed recently when he committed to play his college football in-state for Frank Beamer and the Virginia Tech Hokies.
When combining all of the factors, such as the relationship he built with the coaches and family-like atmosphere, it was a natural choice for Clark.
“I’ve been around the program since the ninth grade, going to their camps, and they have liked the way I’ve grown up as a player since then and matured. I felt comfortable with the staff, campus and people that support the university. It just feels like home there,” Clark said.
Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, the 5’11”, 180-pound Clark made his pledge at the Hokies’ spring game in Blacksburg. The Suffolk standout was the first of six verbal commitments on a banner recruiting day for Virginia Tech.
“He wanted to go to Blacksburg early so that he could tell Coach Beamer face to face that he was committing,” noted King’s Fork head football coach Joe Jones, a former Virginia Tech tight end during the 1980s before he went on to play in the NFL.
“As his coach, I’m just so happy and proud to have watched him grow and get the opportunity of a free college education. Of course, as a Hokie, I’m thrilled he chose Virginia Tech, too.”
Despite the Bulldogs finishing with a 2-8 record in 2011, Clark was named the Southeastern District Defensive Player of the Year. Opponents often threw the ball away from him as he took away one side of the field. On defense, Clark ended up with 58 tackles, five fumble recoveries and four pass breakups.
In addition, Clark was named Second Team All-Southeastern District as a return man, where he ran back three kicks for scores. He also played a significant role on offense, finishing with team-highs of 788 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
During his sophomore season, Clark was chosen Second Team All-District at defensive back while rushing for 530 yards and seven touchdowns on offense.
Clark, who Jones says maintains a 3.4 grade point average, also runs indoor and outdoor track for the Bulldogs in the winter. The Hokies are getting the total package, both on and off the field, he believes.
“First and foremost, he’s a great, high-character person,” Jones said. “He’s a leader in our Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a leader of our football team and a leader at our school. I’ve told everybody and told all the coaches that have talked to me that he’s a tremendous young man who happens to be an excellent athlete and football player. They’re getting someone who is really committed to football and committed to getting himself in the best shape he can be in, as well as learning about the game.”
Class of 2010 athlete Dominique Patterson chose Virginia Tech two years ago, moving from linebacker to running back with the Hokies.
Knowing it’ll be a challenge once he gets to the next level, Clark is eager to prove he stacks up with some of the best.
“When I come in, I want to bring a hard work ethic to try and make the field as soon as possible,” Clark said. “When I do get my reps, I won’t count my reps, I want to make my reps count.”
With recruiting out of the way, that allows Clark to play with a free mind and no distractions for next season in hopes of closing out his Bulldogs career on a high note.
“Now I can focus on getting stronger and faster heading into the season and hope that God blesses me and my team with a good season.”