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With five days left until the Virginia Tech battles Georgia Tech, we turn our attention to one of our true freshmen Mr. Deon Clarke. With no timetable for Tariq Edwards return, Clarke has claimed the backup job at backer for at least the time being. Still, I would prefer a redshirt year if at all possible but with Edwards out for at least the first two weeks of the season, the L.C. Bird star will have to play at least a minor role this season. Clarke is an aggressive and fearless linebacker. He still needs to pack on some pounds in his upper body but that will occur in time. Overall, Clarke is one of our top prospects in 2012 and with a redshirt year looking unlikely, Tech fans will get to see what he can do this fall.
Weight: 214 lbs
High School: L.C. Bird High School
How Did He Get Here?
There’s a funny recruiting story that I’ve heard where Coach Cavanaugh, who back in 2011 recruited the Richmond district (pre-Shane Beamer era), told five star recruit Curtis Grant that he wasn’t the best linebacker in the Richmond area. After that, Grant never did consider the Hokies and eventually dropped us all together. The person Coach Cav called the best linebacker in the Richmond area was actually Deon Clarke, who committed to us on June 29th, 2011. If I had to guess, I think Clarke has a better career than Grant, who wound up choosing Ohio State.
2011 Season Rewind
Clarke picked up 98 tackles as a senior, including 19 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. Since he played outside linebacker at L.C. Bird, those are some impressive statistics. How do you record 14 sacks as a linebacker? Incredible.
Two weeks ago, I was almost assured that Clarke would redshirt. However, things change and Clarke has certainly made his move in practice. He now sits 2nd on the depth chart at backer ahead of walk-on Josh Trimble. That means that Clarke will dress for Georgia Tech and potentially play this year depending upon how quickly Tariq Edwards returns to action. Clarke has great potential. He's one of my five favorite recruits out of last year's recruiting class.
Clarke is very Xavier Adibi like in his style of play. He's athletic but he can also pack a punch. Really, Clarke is a player that I already have faith in even if he's called upon to play a major role this year. He's talented enough to come in and run around and make plays. The problem comes when he blows an assignment or has a mental error. That's the only concern I have. Our defense is difficult to play against because of it's complexity so you can only imagine how much there is to learn, especially as a freshman. Overall, I think Clarke has the potential to be a two or three year starter down the line. He's the type of linebacker Bud Foster loves. But, I would have preferred a redshirt this year. Hopefully, Edwards returns by week two or three so we can keep that redshirt on him.
Completely Made Up Fact
While Justin Timberlake is still trying to bring sexy back, Deon Clarke is trying to bring stamp collecting back. Yea, there's five days left. I give up.
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