Those who spent any time around new University of Kentucky quarterback Danny Clark during his high school days speak about his infectious, positive outlook on life and the game he loves.
It didn’t take long for his new teammates at UK to get a glimpse of that attitude.
“Danny? He’s the most energetic person I’ve ever met in my entire life,” said freshman running back Bryant Koback, now Clark’s roommate at UK. “I mean, he wakes up with a smile. He does workouts with a smile, goes to bed with a smile. Probably sleeps with a smile.
“He’s so focused on becoming the best he can possibly be, learning the playbook already, learning details, always looking for or doing extra stuff. That’s the type of thing we need to become better as a team and as a whole because everybody can feed off that positive energy.”
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Clark’s optimistic outlook led to lots of success as a high school football player.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound quarterback won the starting job as a freshman at Ohio powerhouse Massillon High School, committed to Ohio State that winter and transferred to Archbishop Hoban in Akron for his final two years of high school, leading that team to two consecutive state titles.
This past fall, it became clear that OSU might not be the best fit for the pro-style Clark, who reopened his recruitment and almost immediately landed at Kentucky.
He can throw it through a wall. … As he gets coached more and matures, I think he’s going to be a heck of a quarterback.
Bill Greene, Scout.com analyst
UK’s ace Ohio recruiter, Vince Marrow, has known Clark since the new Wildcat was in eighth grade, and he kept recruiting him even while he was committed to Ohio State. Clark felt a family bond with Marrow, and he found a kindred spirit in quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw, who he described as a positive person always giving Clark advice on how he can improve his game.
“He’s so technical,” Clark said. “When someone knows what they’re talking about, you want to listen to them.”
He’s eager to learn as much as he can as quickly as possible. At quarterback, UK will return Stephen Johnson, who led the Cats to a bowl game this past season, Drew Barker, who began last fall as the starter, and Gunnar Hoak, another talented QB from Ohio who sat out last season as a redshirt.
Clark isn’t backing down from that competition.
“Any quarterback that comes in and doesn’t want to be the No. 1 guy shouldn’t be playing the sport,” he said.
Scout.com analyst Bill Greene has followed Clark throughout his high school career. Greene said Clark needs to fine-tune his footwork and continue to work on his accuracy, but UK is getting a quarterback with a lot of upside.
“He can throw it through a wall,” Greene said. “His touch got better this year. The times when he had to take something off, drop the ball in there, he got a lot better at that this year. I think his best football is ahead of him. … As he gets coached more and matures, I think he’s going to be a heck of a quarterback.”
As Clark’s game continues to evolve, expect his positive outlook to stay the same.
“That’s who he is,” Greene said. “He really is a very optimistic kid. A bright kid. He’s very confident. And I think he can bring out the best in his teammates. He’s not arrogant. He’s not egotistical. He’s a natural leader.
“I’ve been covering him since he was in the eighth grade, and I really think a lot of him. … He’s a guy to root for.”Lonnie Johnson: Junior college is terrible
National signing day
Stay with Kentucky.com throughout the day for all the latest updates as UK wraps up its 2017 recruiting class on national football signing day.