In this installment of The Recruit Notebook, we meet a player with speed to burn who will add athleticism to the Miami secondary: DB Marcus Clarke
It is no secret that the Miami Hurricanes need cornerbacks in this class and on the roster. And in their search do find them, Manny Diaz’s Canes looked in a slightly unconventional place: wide receivers.
When scouting a player in the 2019 recruiting class, Miami happened upon 3-star ATH Marcus Clarke, a standout WR at Winter Park (FL). And, after watching Clarke run routes and return kick, both of which he did with great skill, the Canes had a thought: what if we put Clarke on defense?
After initially offering Clark on June 3rd, Miami was immediately included in Clarke’s list of top schools. Obviously, the fact that Miami is a name-brand program mattered there. Clarke visited Miami later on in June for a camp, and the connection between player and school grew.
After naming Miami in his top 5 on the 4th of July, Clarke set his sights towards committing, and the Miami staff turned up the recruiting connection to try and secure that verbal pledge. When Clarke returned to Coral Gables for Paradise Camp at the end of July, there was no more waiting around. He committed to the Canes in person on campus, and thereby added a speedy player to the 2020 recruiting class.
Through the 2019 season, Clarke stayed in contact and firm in his commitment to Miami. He visited Coral Gables last weekend with that huge contingent of 2020 commits, and has locked in his place on the roster by submitting his NLI today.
On the 247sports composite, Clarke is a 3-star prospect, the #62 CB nationally in this class, #108 in the State of Florida, and #790 recruit overall.
Clarke committed to Miami over offers from Florida State, Georgia, and Tennessee from his robust list of 28 scholarship offers.
As a player
The first thing you notice about Clarke on the field is his S-P-E-E-D. Though he’s been clocked at 4.57 in the 40 yard dash, Clarke plays faster than that (and I believe he could test faster too with slightly improved technique or speed conditions when he’s timed). Whether it’s a pass or a special teams return, when Clarke gets into the open field he can outrun most players, even if they have a proper pursuit angle on him. To put it bluntly: the next time I see Marcus Clarke get caught from behind will be the first time. This kid can FLY.
Since he spent the majority of his career on the offensive side of the ball, it stands to reason that there is much to be desired from Clarke in terms of his technique at CB. But, with his speed and athleticism — and experience at WR so he knows what the offense would like to accomplish — Clarke should be able to pick up the nuances of his new position in time.
At 5’11” 172lbs, Clarke isn’t the biggest player in the world. He’ll need to add weight and strength to his thin, lithe sprinter’s frame. Clarke does have long arm though, a trait which can be helpful in the future as he reaches for PBUs and tries to disrupt plays at the point of the catch. Also, Clarke isn’t really a physical defender in terms of coming up to stop the run or tackle an already-running receiver. He doesn’t have to be a brick wall, but he’ll need to present a bit more resistance than he does at present.
The added value here is special teams. Clarke is a touchdown waiting to happen when he gets the ball in space. Again, I know it sounds crazy with his pedestrian 40 yard dash time, but watch the film. This is a kid with RARE straight line speed, and when he gets a crease on a kick or punt return, cue up the band and change the scoreboard because he’s gone. Miami has no shortage of guys who could be a factor in the return game, but Marcus Clarke needs to join that list as well.
- SPEED, SPEED, SPEED
- Long arms for position
- Experience on offense should help understand what to do on defense
- Added value with Kick Returns
- Limited experience at DB
- Needs to add weight/strength
- Run support/edge setting for exterior plays
Miami needs corners. BADLY. Freshmen were forced into duty in 2019 and that could very well be the case in 2020 as well.
Chances for a Redshirt: 3/10
This is more about the depleted state of the depth chart than it is about Clarke’s ability and talent. Miami DESPERATELY needs CBs, and Clarke is the only one they’re likely to sign out of HS this cycle. Unless Miami adds at this position through the transfer portal, Clarke is likely going to have to play next year. And, if anyone in front of him gets injured, he’ll have to play A LOT.
That’s it for this installment of the Recruiting Notebook.