The Orange has a unique opportunity to bring in a cornerstone player via transfer in the coming weeks, and the decision may come sooner than any would have thought. Former UCLA tight end Chris Clark has reportedly narrowed down his transfer list to just two schools: SU and Pittsburgh. Sure, this rising star may just be another transfer option…except for the fact that he was recruited out of high school as a five-star tight end. I repeat: five-star.
In the last few recruiting cycles, it seemed like fans and coaches were on four-star recruit watch. First it was KJ Williams, who was set to be the program’s first four-star player in years. Then it was Robert Washington who had the chance to be the cornerstone player for the program, until he decommitted. Now, SU has an opportunity to nab an even bigger player.
Originally from Connecticut, Clark was part of UCLA’s 2015 recruiting class. However, his recruitment didn’t start and end with the Bruins. Clark originally committed to both North Carolina and Michigan and consequently decomitted from both. Now he’s bailing out on his third program before finishing half a season of collegiate football on the west coast. Citing homesickness, Clark is clearly favoring the northeast.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh continuously battle for recruits from the Northeast, yet this one may be the most important because Clark possesses generational talent. After all, he was ranked as the top tight end in the country by Rivals and Scout. He cracked the top five of 247sports and ESPN’s rankings. At 6-foot-6 and 247 pounds, he clearly has the size to dominate off the line of scrimmage and in the middle of the field.
One of his reasons for considering the Orange is his prior relationships with Jake Pickard and Anthony Giudice, two first-year players. It should be noted that Shafer and his staff flipped Pickard from Wisconsin to SU last spring, so Pickard could give Clark some good advice. SU was also the first program to offer Clark back at the start of the cycle.
Syracuse has never really had a game-changing tight end in the Doug Marrone and Scott Shafer eras, so it will be interesting to see how the coaching staff potentially mixes Clark into the offense, should he choose SU. It should be noted that he may have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules, though.
Be sure to follow The Fizz on Twitter, @OrangeFizz for the latest news on Clark’s recruitment.