South Carolina's football staff broke through in a big way in Virginia on Thursday by securing a commitment from four-star offensive tackle Austin Clark.
The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder chose the Gamecocks over offers from Clemson, Miami, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia, and Virginia Tech with his final four being made up of the Gamecocks, Hokies, Vols, and Buckeyes. Clark had been leaning towards South Carolina as of late but came to his final choice over the weekend.
"I would say it was Sunday night," he told GamecockCentral.com. "I had been going back and forth between two or three and into the weekend but I think it was Sunday night I was kind of sitting, thinking which school I would like to go and it just hit me that South Carolina was the place for me."
Clark, ranked as the 75th-best prospect in the country by Rivals.com as well as the ninth-best tackle nationally and the fourth-best prospect in Virginia, was recruited to South Carolina by Deke Adams and Shawn Elliott. He credited both with having a big hand in landing his services.
"Their approach to me was straightforward," Clark said. "They told me I was a big priority for them and that offensive tackle was a need. I really liked that they were straight shooters."
The Virginia product is excited to get to Columbia next summer and begin work with Elliott, whose methods won him over during Clark's visits to the school.
"His coaching style on the field, it's really intense and I like that," he said. "In the film room, it's more laid back and coaching. He does more coaching in the film room and then expects you to perform on the field."
Clark's final visit to South Carolina took place on May 31, and he was able to sit down at that time with the Head Ball Coach. His final pitch to Clark resonated.
"They have a great bunch of guys down there," Clark said of Spurrier's talk with him. "They got to class and do what they're told. He tells me I'm that type of guy that he knows will work hard on and off the field."
What will the big man bring to the gridiron in Columbia?
"I definitely think that on the field I bring physicality. I'm very physical. I'm also versatile. I can play left tackle or right tackle, or anywhere they need me. The main two things are physicality and versatility . I'm a really good student. I'm pretty much straight As. I'm going to work hard no matter what I'm doing."
What kind of player and person is Clark? How did his recruiting process play out down the stretch? Go in-depth in our 'Inside the Decision' feature (for subscribers)
Breaking down Clark's game film, what he will bring to the table for USC, and what his commitment means (for subscribers)