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Back when the rumors first started circulating that Dino Babers would jump from Bowling Green to Syracuse University, one of my very first thoughts was: that’s going to make Devon Clarke an extremely happy young man. You may remember Clarke, a 6-foot-3 safety from Florida. He tried committing to the Orange last summer but was turned away by the old staff. Now, he’s back on the radar for Syracuse.

So why did I believe Clarke would potentially benefit from Babers taking over at Syracuse? Well, that’s easy: Bowling Green was recruiting the hard-hitting Clarke, and for awhile it looked like that might wind up being his college destination. So when Babers jumped to Syracuse, suddenly, Clarke had a staff that believed in him coaching at a program he had so badly wanted to commit to in July.

And now, Clarke is one step closer to finishing this long, winding road to Central New York, as he’s set an official visit for next weekend. To be honest, I’ll be a little shocked if the Osceola star doesn’t commit before the end of his trip to campus next weekend if he in fact receives an offer from the new staff – which I also expect to happen.

Clarke has added an offer from Purdue and is being recruited hard by UMass, a program that’s hitting Florida hard right now, having recently picked up a commitment from former Syracuse target Cycoby Burch and getting in the running for electric athlete and, again, former Syracuse target Tyrek Tisdale. The Minutemen want Clarke bad, but Syracuse has long been Clarke’s favorite and it’ll be awfully tough for anyone to pry him away if and when he gets an offer from the Orange.

Clarke also has offers from South Florida, Tulane, Memphis, Marshall, Charlotte, South Alabama, and had been previously committed to Oregon State before backing off that pledge last spring. He’s a 3-star talent with great size who absolutely loves to hit, and he claims a 4.56 time in the 40, which is very solid for a high school safety with his kind of size.

This is an easy kid to root for given what happened last summer, and it’s always good to see someone who so clearly loves the Syracuse football program finally get the attention he’s been wanting from the Orange. Assuming Syracuse pulls the trigger on the offer, the Orange will be the¬†heavy¬†favorite to land him. Check out his highlights up above to see the kind of physical presence he’d bring to the Syracuse secondary.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including Cracked.com, Spike.com, TheSportster.com, Gunaxin.com, and TopTenz.net, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He’s got a wife, and a toddler he’s brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff’s a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish