Northwestern may have been muscled out on James Clark

Signing Day is a scant three weeks away, and on that first Wednesday of February we will for sure welcome at least 19 new members to Northwestern’s recruiting class.

This is already shaping up to be Northwestern’s best recruiting class in school history and will certainly be the stars we will cheer for in the future. We will get into those names a little bit closer to signing day (although I bet most of you already know who Matt Alviti and Godwin Igwebuike are). The last piece to the class appears to be falling off place.

Four-star wide receiver James Clark of New Smyrna Beach, Florida appears to be drifting away from Northwestern. Florida recently jumped into the picture with a scholarship offer and the Orlando Sentinel reports that White had an in-home visit from Florida coach Joker Phillips and that it went well. He plans to visit Florida on Jan. 25 and has visited such big schools as Nebraska and Clemson. He also recently had Ohio State contact him and reports are that White will listen to them. The Buckeyes, according to Rivals, also offered him a scholarship recently.

The fact that this is dragging out probably does not bode well for Northwestern. He visited NU back in November and called NU the “complete package” but that was before Florida and Nebraska entered the fray.

The lack of news trickling out on Clark and Northwestern seems to suggest that NU has been muscled out of the running for this speedy receiver.

Clark is pretty much acknowledged by the recruiting sites as the last player on Northwestern’s radar for recruiting. Since it seems he is off the radar, NU’s 19-recruit class seems to be complete.

  • gocatsgo2003

    … or it suggests that journalists have an inherent bias in their coverage (“there’s no way that Northwestern could stand a chance against Nebraska, Ohio State, Florida, and Clemson!”) despite being the only school James consistently mentions as amongst his top choices.
    I tend to think that our chances with James are slim (and narrowing quickly), but it is moreso due to his inability to say no to a “name” program rather than the surrounding media reporting.

    • Good point. The Sentinel (my hometown paper, where I saw this) seemed to gloss over NU. The fact that he is not taking a second visit to Northwestern (he went to Nebraska last weekend and has visits to Florida and Clemson upcoming) might say something. Or it might not.

      The Northwestern recruiting writers say he is the last guy on NU’s board. So we will pay attention to the hat dance, I guess.

      • gocatsgo2003

        1) Unless he was paying his own way, James couldn’t make a second visit to Northwestern. Schools can only have a prospect in for a single official visit.
        2) I don’t see how the number of visits would have any bearing, as the only school he has visited twice is Florida (which is about a two hour drive from New Smyrna Beach)
        3) Moreover, James is talking about taking visits to Clemson and Ohio State without even so much as meeting coaches from either school in person (though the Clemson coaches appear to have made an in-home visit this week after his visit was set)

        • Thanks guys for clearing that up. I am not 100% clear on all the recruiting rules. Will be interesting to see where he goes before Feb. 6. He is the guy to keep an eye on. I will be keeping an eye on the Orlando Sentinel for more updates since I still read it every day.

      • ctya

        The lack of a second visit does not say anything.

      • bd005

        Clark gave his UNL visit a “10” and it seems that UNL didn’t make his FF list (while NU is still on it).
        I think NU still has a puncher’s chance.

  • Alaskawildcat

    Sometimes no news is good news. Will probably come down to whether he wants to stay close to home. If he leaves Florida it looks like the Wildcats remain very much in the running.

  • zeek

    May as well just save it for next year. Next year’s class looks extremely small already.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Have you seen his tape? You don’t turn down that kind of speed regardless of how many scholarships you have the next year — fast is fast and EVERY program wants fast.

      • zeek

        Yeah, he looks like a stud; that’s why I assume all these other schools are jumping on this bandwagon to recruit him.

        I just mean, I don’t think it’ll be as big of a loss as it might be in another year; we’ll need every scholarship we can offer next year.

        • JimB

          Not so sure about that. We have had an irregular number of scholarships every fourth year for some time now and, more importantly, we have a higher than normal ratio of underclassmen playing now with strong recruiting classes following them. If you can get a 4 star player you do it now not wait to see if you can get one next year. That said, I hope he comes to NU but suspect he will be a Gator.

      • Alaskawildcat

        Regarding the tape, I couldn’t help but note he could well be a V Mark clone. The close to lateral shovel pass that he took in for a touchdown looked like pure Mark. I’m thinking that if he goes with Northwestern his skill set is very compatible with our style of play and he will have a better opportunity to excel.

  • ctya

    He’s said NU is in his final four, and he’s said he’s going to take all his visits before committing anywhere. Beating out UF for him is a tall order, but there’s no reason at all to think he’s “off the radar.”

  • Chasmo

    It’s obviously difficult for NU fans — much less high school recruits — to image someone choosing the Cats over offers from marquee teams such as Florida, Ohio State, Clemson and Nebraska.
    Yet, it’s a step that NU will have to take someday if it really does want to compete for Big Ten titles.
    Maybe this will be the kid who starts that trend.
    Or maybe taking that next step in recruiting success will have to wait until next year, or the year after that, or . . .
    Let’s hope for the best.

    • Richard


      At UF and OSU, you could contend for national titles. UNL at least has the brand name and history. Clemson does have a better history than NU, but the 2 teams are not that far apart these days & if academics matter to him, I think it would put NU over Clemson. If academics are a big point for him, it should be down to NU, UF, and OSU.

      • NUCATS04

        HAHA Academics and UF do not go in the same sentence together. You are not the brightest crayon in the box are you?

        • Ahmed

          I agree. If academics are important to him, then he’ll come to NU. Personally, it boggles my mind why anyone would not want to come to NU or Stanford if they are given a football scholarship. Imagine the possibilities post graduation if you don’t (and most likely won’t) make it to the NFL with a degree from these schools.

        • Richard

          Way to stereotype. Do you know only of their athletes or students at-large? How about their faculty?

  • NUMBalumDave

    Well, there’s lots of competition for star kids. I hope he makes a choice that’s good for him and does well. It would not be good if chose a program and wasn’t a fit, no matter which program.

    I just hope that recruits realize the value of the scholarship they’re being offered. Sure, they all want to develop and play on Sunday, but if that doesn’t happen, then what? Always keep yer options open, is my advice. If Clark is smart, and I am sure he is, he will keep all his options open.

  • cece

    Aaron Kromer, new O Coord and O line runner of….THE BEARS! ah, NU coaches of old…