Le’Raven holds his own against the nation’s best
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.— Normally the largest person on the field, Le’Raven Clark found out what its like to just be one of the guys at the Under A rmour A ll- A merica High School Game and he kind of liked it.
“I didn’t stand out anymore,” Clark said. “It was different.”
Surrounded by the best this nation has to offer, Clark certainly held his own and, his red Click-Clack team won the game to boot, 24-22, on a last second field goal from Texas A&M committee Taylor Bertolet.
The Under Armour game has become an important affair, so much so that the all-star team’s practices are televised on ESPN, which also aired the game for a national audience.
Besides preparing for the game, the 90 invited players are carted around for a whirlwind of activities— including a trip to Disneyland— but Clark enjoyed the competition best.
“ The game was f un, especially since we won,” he said. “We had our heads down because we thought we lost, then we were celebrating.”
Bertolet did convert the winning field goal, but not without some drama.
With three seconds left on the clock, Bertolet’s first attempt to win the game was blocked from 28 yards out, sparking a massive celebration by the White squad.
Players rushed the field and buckets of ice were poured on coaches’ heads, but in the back of the end zone was a flag.
The referees called the White team for illegal procedure, giving Bertolet, another opportunity, that he took full advantage of.
The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Clark discovered fairly early that these were not your average Friday night football players.
“They were all very well rounded,” he said. “They were fast and strong. You can see what your weaknessess and strengths are pretty quick.”
Clark felt like he held his own against the best of the best after struggling in the early going in practice.
“For the most part I thought I did alright, but not in practice,” he said. “It was hard just getting back to playing football again.”
Clark had been playing basketball since the Tigers were knocked out of the football playoffs on Nov. 12.
During practices, Clark had to try and stop fellow teammate, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who is considered the top recruit in the nation, who at 6-6, 240- pounds, is similar to Clark in build.
“He is going to push you. He was pretty tough.”
Clark got some prime TV time when he was caught shaking hands with his coach, Steve Mariucci, after a touchdown.
“He was very enthusiastic,” Clark said of the former San Francisco 49er coach. “He actually coached us.”
Clark was roomed with Spencer Region (6-5, 339) of Cullman, Ala. and they communicate every day now. Region is uncommitted, but will probably end up rolling with the Tide.
National signing day is on the horizon Feb. 2, when Clark will join all his teammates again to sign a national letter of intent.
Despite dozens of offers, Clark remains committed to Texas Tech and was the only Red Raider comittment in the game.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “It’s something you never forget.”