I talked a bit about Florida safety Devon Clarke recently in the wake of news that he’ll be making an official visit to the Syracuse University campus this weekend, and over the past couple of days I’ve had a chance to hear directly from the 3-star talent himself. With the secondary a major priority, the hard-hitting talent from Osceola remains high on the Orange.
At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Clarke brings the kind of size and physicality that the Orange were lacking last season into the defensive backfield. If he were to commit to Syracuse, he’d immediately be the biggest, rangiest athlete back there, which certainly couldn’t hurt his chances of seeing the field sooner than later. He was recruited by Bowling Green in addition to the Orange, so he’s also already got some familiarity with the new coaching staff.
“I’ve been getting recruited by coach [Nick] Monroe,” said Clarke. “Our relationship is good. We talk on Twitter every night almost, and we even had a good relationship when coach was at Bowling Green.”
Clarke also mentioned that Monroe checks in regularly to see how the athletic safety is doing in general, and not just in a football sense, which he says has separated the new Syracuse secondary coach from other programs.
“Half the schools that offered me barely did that,” he said of Monroe’s frequent communication. That kind of relationship could give Syracuse a leg up as Clarke narrows his choices and get close to a decision. As it stands now, he’s highest on Syracuse and UMass, and maintains some interest in Purdue, though he hasn’t heard as much from the Boilermaker staff as either the Orange or Minutemen.
“What I like about Syracuse is that they’re building a successful program for the future and in the season coming up, and I wouldn’t mind being a part of that,” said Clarke, who went on to discuss what he likes about UMass. “What I like about [UMass] is that I’m looking at early playing time and have a good chance of making it to the next level.”
Clarke is currently waiting on an official offer from Syracuse, though it seems likely that one is coming sooner than later. If he does receive a commitment from the Orange, my personal feeling is that it’ll be very difficult for anyone to beat Syracuse for the services of the Osceola star, who wanted to commit to the University last summer before being told to hold off by former head coach Scott Shafer and his staff. With a new staff in place, and with this new staff being high on Clarke, Orange fans should feel very, very good about where things stand. UMass is a very real threat here, but just a gut feeling, I think Syracuse is the team to beat.
Check out his highlights above to see the kind of player Syracuse could be getting if they’re able to land Clarke.