May 4, 2009

Clarke is running towards his goal

Most of the focus of the recruiting class of 2009 has fallen upon the seven players who have enrolled early at Ohio State but that doesn't mean there won't be great excitement about the remaining 18 players who will arrive in Columbus in June of 2009.

Frederick (Md.) cornerback Dominic Clarke shocked many experts when he committed to the Buckeyes in June of 2008, coming out of a part of Maryland that is not known for turning out a high number of Division I (FBS) players. Clarke in fact was the first player to do so from Tuscarora high school. But when you look at Clarke's tape on the football field and on the track you will see why Clarke blew up after his junior year.

Now with essentially a full month of school to go before graduation where do things stand for the future Ohio State cornerback?

"Things have been going pretty well," Clarke said. "Just trying to finish up my senior year strong and have been running outdoor track. I have been trying to get a state championship in that."

Ohio State is no stranger to having athletes who excel both on the football field and on the track and Clarke is no exception to the rule.

"I ran a 48.7 (seconds in the 400m) electronically and that is my fastest time so far and I think it is the first or second fastest in the state," Clarke said. "I also ran a 47 (second) split in the 4x400m… we are just trying to go and win a state championship in track because we won it in indoor track. We won the 4x400m championship and I won the 500m for indoor."

There won't be much time to shift gears from being in track shape to getting into football shape for Clarke however but the transition should be that difficult for one of Maryland's best high school track stars.

"I am still lifting in the weight room so I haven't really lost any of my strength due to track," Clarke said. "As far as getting ready for football, when I first get to Ohio State is going to be more about conditioning and then we can work on position specific stuff like that."

Clarke was unable to attend the Ohio State spring game in April because he was at the Penn Relays but he was well aware of the 97-thousand plus fans that packed Ohio Stadium to take in the action.

"It just shows how much support there is," Clarke said. "That is one of the main reasons that I chose Ohio State because of the fan support regardless of who they are playing… this was just a spring game and not even a real game and (97-thousand) people come out to basically see a practice. To me that is just amazing."

Most of Clarke's recruiting class was in attendance for the game but Dominic has made an effort staying in touch with his future teammates and has paid special attention to the seven that have already made the jump including C.J. Barnett and Jamie Wood.

"I mostly talk to the guys who have enrolled and see how things are going for them," Clarke said. "Just seeing how things are different from high school and things like that."

Clarke will wear No. 28 when he gets to Columbus and even though he will be on the defensive side of the ball he knows that he will look into the crowd and see a multitude of 28 jerseys worn by fans of Chris Wells.

"Hopefully I will go out there and make an impact and they can get ones that say Clarke on the back," Clarke joked.

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