NORMAN — Oklahoma fans continue nervously awaiting Deondre Clark's final decision on a college football destination, and if all goes according to plan, they might have to wait an extra few days after national signing day on Feb. 5.
Clark, a four-star defensive end from Douglass, wants to keep his choice a secret until after he returns from the International Bowl, an event pitting Team USA against Team Canada in five different age groups that will be held Feb. 7 in Arlington, Texas.
Clark remains verbally committed to LSU, but his mother Dorshell hasn't been shy about expressing her opinion — both publicly and privately — that he should stay close to home and sign with Oklahoma.
“I'm gonna let him make his own decision, but I'm gonna encourage him as much as I can,” Dorshell Clark told The Oklahoman a few minutes before her other son, freshman guard Stephen Clark, played for Oklahoma State in Monday night's Bedlam basketball game.
“I'm gonna tell him how miserable he'll be without me,” she added with a smile. “It'll work. It'll work. I kinda win all the time.”
Dorshell Clark took to Twitter on Monday morning, asking fans to “help me out” in convincing Deondre to pick Oklahoma, a school that seemed completely out for him just a few months ago.
Deondre Clark developed a close relationship with former OU defensive line coach Jackie Shipp, who was fired last February and replaced by Jerry Montgomery.
Dorshell Clark said three months went by between Shipp's departure and any other contact with Oklahoma coaches.
“He grew up loving OU,” Dorshell Clark said. “I think his feelings were just hurt when they kinda dropped the ball and didn't try to recruit him. He felt like maybe they didn't think he was good enough.”
Interestingly, Deondre Clark is planning one final official visit this weekend to Arizona State, and he's only going, his mother said, because Jackie Shipp is now on that staff.
“I'm not even gonna make the trip with him,” she said. “Out of respect, I'll let him go for Jackie.
“But I don't even wanna open that door for any more than it is.
“Coach Montgomery has done a great job. I am really excited about what he's done and the attention he's given to Dre, because for a while after Shipp left, we just didn't hear anything from him. For me, I wanted him to stay home, so it was really important for me to get them on board.”
Deondre Clark recorded 44 sacks over the past two seasons for Douglass, and was a two-time Oklahoman first-team All-State selection. Rivals ranks him as the nation's 127th-best player.