WICHITA, Kan. — Trace Clark's pedigree underscores why the Wichita Collegiate defensive end might be an impact player at Oklahoma State, possibly as early as this fall.
A four-year starter on offense and defense, Clark is the son of Steve Clark, a fifth round pick out of Kansas State who played two years for the New England Patriots.
Clark's brother, Zac, was Oregon's starting nose tackle two years ago in the national title game. Two sisters are Division I volleyball players.
“He knows enough watching their experiences that he's not going to walk into a program like Oklahoma State and feel he's the big man on campus,” said Wichita Collegiate coach Bill Messamore. “He knows the time and dedication needed. He'll earn his way.”
A two-sport star, Clark helped lead the Spartans, a private school, to a football state title as a sophomore. He also helped lead Wichita Collegiate to back-to-back basketball state titles as a freshman and sophomore.
A 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end, Clark compiled 106 tackles and six sacks this past season.
After narrowing his choices of 14 schools to OSU, Stanford and Iowa, Clark committed to the Cowboys in December. He watched the Fiesta Bowl with great interest.
“I was pulling really hard for the Cowboys, totally excited when they won,” Clark said Wednesday morning at his signing. “What a great game. In the end, when I made my decision, I felt most comfortable with the coaching staff at Oklahoma State.”
With three senior defensive ends leaving the program Clark could contribute as a true freshman. Because of his father's and sibling's backgrounds he understands it's sometimes beneficial to redshirt.
“He witnessed his brother playing in the Rose Bowl his first year (after junior college), then the national championship game,” said his father. “He has high ideas what this journey is going to be like because he's seen what it can be. He's looking forward to starting his own journey.”
Clark still has much room to fill out an athletic frame. He possibly could move inside to defensive tackle at some point although he's projected to stay at defensive end.