Michael Clark is a class of 2022 defensive tackle for Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Georgia. Clark is 5’10” and 288 lbs. Benching 415 and squating 750, Clark is a beast in the weight room and a guy who has the kind of strength and power that translates to the next level. Last season, Michael was named first team all region for his play at defensive tackle. Clark also gets his work done in the classroom holding a solid 3.0 GPA.
How long have you been playing football?
Since I was about four. I used to play with my dad’s little league team and that is where I first built a love for the game. My mom would always motivate me to get in the backfield. She would tell me, “get in the backfield, that’s how you make plays, that’s how you get noticed, that’s how you make money.” That has stuck with me ever since I started playing.
What did your off-season training regiment look like?
I play baseball too so I was focusing on both sports. A normal day for me would start off by going to football practice and lifting from 8-12. Then I would go home for a little bit and go to baseball from 2-5.
Do you have any goals for this season?
To get more offers, get more people interested in me. I also want to win state for the third time and make my teammates better all around so we can get the goal that we want.
What kind of defensive lineman would you describe yourself as? Do you beat guys with your power or your finesse?
I would say I am definitely a power guy but I can use my finesse when I need it. If I notice that a lineman is really trying to stop my power, I’ll hit him with finesse. Also, when I know I am facing a good offensive lineman I try to mix it up more.
What is your favorite part about playing on the defensive line?
I like making plays. Every time I line up facing the guard I just tell myself I am better than him. I know I am gonna get by and make plays. It’s just a matter of how I’m choosing to do it on each play.
What is your most memorable moment on the field?
My 9th grade year I wasn’t getting much playing time but my defensive line told me I was gonna play that week. I got really excited, but then the game came and I didn’t play. I was really down about it, I cried about it because I really wanted to play. The next week against Mt. Vernon, Coach told me the same thing but I didn’t think much of it. About halfway through the second quarter I heard Coach calling my name and I was surprised. He put me in the game and the first play I was in, I blew up the center and stopped the running back behind the line. I made a couple more plays that drive and the coaches saw that I could play. They started playing me more after that. That was when I kind of broke out and first gained a bit of confidence on the field.
How would your teammates describe you?
I think they would describe me as a nice guy off the field. But they know what when I get in between those pylons, it’s straight business.
What is a part of your game that you feel will translate to the next level?
I’d have to say my power. I bench 415 and squat 750 so when a guard or center puts his hands on me I know that I can beat them. I literally think to myself “you’re a little boy, I bench you for reps.”
What is a part of your game that you feel like you need to get better at?
Probably my speed and finesse. I know I am not the fastest guy and I know I don’t really need to be the fastest guy at my position, but it’s still something that I am constantly working on. I am comfortable with where my finesse moves are at right now, but I’m not satisfied with them. They need to be better for me to be a presence at the next level. That is why me and my defensive line coach have been working on them a lot ever since the off-season.
Do you have any role models who have inspired you?
My defensive line coach has been a big inspiration to me in football and in life. He went to Jonesboro and he was like me. Everyone called him short and not big enough to be a defensive lineman. But he ended up going to Tuskegee and playing four years there, so it made me think if he could do it then I can do the same thing.
What are you thinking pre-snap?
First, I think of what gap I need to cover. Next, I look over the defense seeing their strength to try and get a read on where the play is going. If I’m on the left side they’re probably going to attack the B gap so I just try and assess how I am going to beat them to the spot.
What is something that recruiters should know about you?
Heart over size. Just because I’m not the biggest on the field doesn’t mean I can’t be the strongest. I’m willing to do anything to win.
What is a time you went through significant adversity and how did you get through it?
Probably the time I told you earlier about Coach telling me I was going to play and I didn’t. I thought I was doing something wrong and I just broke down mentally. I talked to God and he told me to wait, that your turn is coming. Once my turn came, I never gave it up.
Has football taught you any valuable lessons?
It has taught me to never quit. No matter how many times you get hit, you have to get back up. You have to push yourself to keep going in football and in life. You have to push yourself to be the best person you can be.
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