Hey there, dear reader. There are probably a lot of thoughts going through your head right now. Allow me to summarize:
1) "Wow, he's really aggressive."
2) "Hot damn, he's small. I know Ferentz currently has a bit of a hard-on for little people like Danny Woodhead, but I think Robert Gallery had shits bigger than this kid."
3) "Wait a second... these aren't football highlights."
If you put on your deductive reasoning cap, dear reader, and figured out that Mr. Clark is not, in fact, the latest Iowa football recruit but instead the latest Iowa wrestling recruit... congratulations! Pat yourself on the back in satisfaction of a job well done. Clark verballed to Iowa this weekend, becoming the first* kid to join Iowa's 2012 recruiting class. He's also a great start to what could be a fairly big class: Clark checks in at #18 on Intermat's Top 100 recruits, at #26 on d1collegewrestling's Top 100 recruits, and at #5 on Intermat's high school rankings for 119ers. As you could probably guess from that weight, he projects at 125 lbs. in college. Currently, Iowa has a very, very, very good option at that weight (the McDominator himself, Matt McDonough), but Clark considers that an incentive to attend Iowa, rather than any sort of deterrent:
The chance to train with McDonough during a possible redshirt season thrills Clark.
"I was like, ‘Dude, that would be sweet to have a whole year with a national championship-caliber wrestler’ before I got to compete — hopefully," he said.
Granted, it certainly helps that there's only a year of overlap with McDonough and Clark: Clark's redshirt year will be McDonough's senior season. Tony Ramos, Iowa's other prominent lower-weight wrestler (and the guy oft-rumored to take over 125 lbs. if McDonough left it for 133 lbs.) would only impact Clark's mat time slightly more: he'll be a junior during Clark's redshirt season, so there would only be one real season of overlapping eligibility there. Regardless, that's far enough off in the future that it's not worth being concerned about right now.
Clark is a big get for Iowa and represents an excellent option for the future of Iowa's lower weights (which were in need of replenishing this year). Clark's been absolutely dynamite as an Iowa prep wrestler at Southeast Polk; to date, he's amassed a 133-0 record and he hadn't surrendered a single point at state tournament meets until this year's semifinal match. If he can run the table again this year, he'll join truly elite company as the sixth Iowa prep wrestler to finish his career unbeaten (you've probably heard of the first guy who did it). That's no guarantee of collegiate success, but it's certainly a good sign -- and the last two Iowa prep wrestlers to do it went on to win two national championships apiece at Iowa (Jeff McGinness won titles in '95 and '98, Eric Juergens won titles in '00 and '01).
Clark is the first major domino to fall in Iowa's 2012 recruiting, a class which figures to be dominated by prospects at the high and low end of the weight spectrum. Iowa needs to start grooming replacements for McD and Ramos (or whoever manages to win the 133 spot this year), hence the need at those weights. The needs at the upper weights are just as glaring; while Iowa has a glut of potential talent at 141-174, the pickings are much leaner at the three upper weights. The paucity of options at 197 (both this year and going forward) has been well-documented , Gambrall has no serious understudies at 184, and after Blake Rasing departs there will be no heavyweights on the roster beyond Bobby Telford. So look for Iowa to devote a fair amount of recruiting resources to filling those holes this year.
* I'm pretty sure he's the first, but I'm not 100% certain; if I'm wrong here, someone please correct me.