Pitt offers Jordan Clark, son of former Steelers safety Ryan Clark
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Pitt has offered 2019 Louisiana defensive back Jordan Clark, the son of former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark. Read Jordan's thoughts on his offer from the Panthers and the opportunity to return to his hometown.
After an illustrious eight-year career patrolling the defensive secondary alongside Troy Polamalu, former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark established himself as a fan-favorite in the Steel City. While it’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly four years since Clark suited up in the black and gold, his family name hasn’t been entirely absent from the city.
On Saturday, June 3rd, Jordan Clark made a triumphant return to his former stomping grounds and hometown. A 2019 cornerback who plays his high school football in Baton Rouge (La.), Clark came back to Pittsburgh in order to compete at Pitt’s one-day prospect camp in the South Side of Pittsburgh. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound defensive back did not leave empty-handed, adding a scholarship from Pitt to an offer list that had included only SMU and Houston.
“I’m really excited. Pitt is kind of home for me,” Clark said. “You know, my dad played up here and I lived here for the majority of my life. I remember waking up Saturday mornings and going down to the blocks and watching Pitt play, so I’m really excited about the opportunity to come back here and play football maybe in the future.”
Clark has been living in Louisiana for at least part of the year since he was in middle school, eventually moving down to his father’s home state full-time. The opportunity to return and make a name for himself where his father did the same was something that Clark was keenly aware of.
“In my fifth-grade year, we started moving back to Louisiana in the offseason and spending half of the year and half in Pittsburgh. It was a while ago, maybe like 2011, I believe. This is my first time back in like a year or two, so I don’t get to come back very often,” Clarke explained. “When my dad and I were setting up my camp schedule this summer, he was sorting through all of the schools that invited me and showed interest in me. He said ‘We have an open day this weekend’ and asked where I wanted to go. I told him Pitt. I feel like I wanted to come home and show the coaches that I can play. This is a special trip.”
During his time on campus, Clark received personal attention from a number of Pitt coaches, including head coach Pat Narduzzi and cornerbacks coach Renaldo Hill. After an afternoon spent working out for the Pitt coaches, Clark was greeted with good news by the coaching staff and was able to spend the rest of the day getting to know Pitt’s program better.
“I walked around with some of the coaches and I talked with coach Narduzzi and the defensive backs coach, coach Hill. They walked me around,” Clark said. “I got to see the locker rooms and the insides of the facilities and all of that stuff, so it was pretty cool. I was extremely impressed. I love coach Hill and we talked about some technique stuff that’s really going to help me when I go home. Coach Narduzzi – he was very, very exciting and he had a very vivid picture of what he wants Pitt football to be. He said I’m a guy that I can really use in his secondary. He has a really good history of defenses and he said I fit the mold of what player he’s playing in the secondary. I really like them and I’m hoping I can further my relationships with them in the future.”
Pat Narduzzi’s desire for size and speed in the secondary are well-known in recruiting circles. Although the younger Clark hasn’t yet breached the 6-foot mark, the coverage abilities and athleticism he showed off during the one-day camp were enough to earn the seal of approval.
“I’m considered a smaller corner, so I think it was my speed,” Clark said. “I ran a good 40 and I tested well. I ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, a 4.2 in the shuttle, and I jumped a 9-foot-1 in the broad jump. I was able to be physical in one-on-ones and I showed that I can get my hands on wide receivers. Coach likes to press a lot, so I was able to show that I can get my hands on receivers and play the way that they play their corners, so that helped a lot.”
Clark’s parentage and his father’s experience in the football ranks have been an invaluable asset and a guiding force in his son’s recruitment as it begins to take off.
“My dad, he gives me a lot of tips as the recruitment is kind of picking up now. He tells me not to pick a school because of the logo or how big they are. He says not to pick a school like Alabama if you can’t play there. I’m looking for somewhere I can go in and play early,” Clark said. “I want to go somewhere where football is valued and people go out to the games. I want coaches who love you and care for you and can set you up for the future. Those are the things I’m looking at.”
A country-wide visit schedule will have Clark busy for most of the month of June as he competes at camps in all corners of the nation. Pitt was the first Power Five program to offer Clark, but they likely won’t be the last.
“I just came from Houston last weekend and I’m going to Washington and Nebraska. I’ll be back up in Pennsylvania for Penn State next week. I’ll also go to South Carolina and North Carolina. I think that’s it,” Clark said.
Check out highlights from Clark’s sophomore season below and stay tuned for more updates on his recruitment as Pitt works to bring his family back to the Steel City.