Name: Jeremy Clark
Weight: 206 lbs.
High school: Madisonville (KY) North Hopkins
Class: Fifth year senior
Jersey number: #34
Last year: I ranked Clark #47 and said he would be a backup strong safety (LINK). He started seven games at cornerback, making 21 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 3 pass breakups.
Clark was perhaps the biggest surprise on defense during the 2015 season. He didn’t play a great deal prior to last year, and he was thought to be a strong safety or perhaps a guy who could bulk up into an outside linebacker. Instead, he battled Channing Stribling for the starting boundary corner gig. Things were pretty even throughout the year, with Clark starting seven games and Stribling starting six. Clark was victimized by a couple excellent plays from offensive players, but mostly he was very solid. His large wingspan allowed him to blanket receivers who might have been open against smaller guys.
I thought Clark outplayed Stribling in 2015, but the Stribling hype train started once again this spring. Multiple reports said that Stribling had a great spring and sometimes looked like the best player on the whole defense. Meanwhile, defensive backs coach Mike Zordich said publicly that Clark is more physical and Stribling needs to get more involved in stopping the run. He also said that all three guys would play in certain packages. I’m giving the edge to Stribling in the countdown based on spring practice reports, but I don’t think Clark is far behind. He’s physical, covers well, and tackles well. I wasn’t a believer in his abilities as a corner prior to last season, but he has turned into a solid player.
Prediction: Backup cornerback