FORT WAYNE – Donovan Clarks 2013 summer road trip will include a stop in Bradenton, Fla., this weekend. But the South Side seniors journey has little to do with fun and more to do with the next step in his football career.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound defensive back has been going on trips to colleges for unofficial visits and to camps in an effort to get noticed and do some looking himself.
The jaunt to Florida is for the IMG 7 v 7 National Championship as part of the Fort Wayne-based AWP team, sponsored by Parkview Ortho Hospital. It is a return trip for AWP (26-2), which reached the quarterfinals last year.
I am ready to go down there and win the national championship and bring it back to Fort Wayne, Clark said. But I am also looking forward to going down there and compete at the same level and to better myself and my teammates also. It is an experience that you cant substitute for anything.
Also on the AWP 7-on-7 team are Concordia quarterback David Morrison, who is committed to Ball State, and Carroll defensive back Drue Tranquill, who has 10 Division I offers, including a recent one from Purdue.
In addition to traveling to 7-on-7 competitions with AWP and winning titles such as the Midwest/East Coast championship, the University of Toledo championship and the IMG Midwest Elite Regional championship, Clark has also been to various schools such as Notre Dame, Michigan State and Iowa for camps.
It is all part of the recruiting process.
It is hard when you first start because you really dont know what you are looking for in a school, Clark said.
Going on visits, you start to narrow things and start to know what you want. It is different for every player, so to ask someone else what to look for in a college is a lost cause.
It is like finding a girl. Everybody has the right girl themselves. It is a learning experience and something you only go through with yourself.
Along the way, Clark has gotten offers from Indiana, UTEP, Bowling Green, Ball State, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami of Ohio, Toledo and Ohio.
More could be yet to come as well.
Thats one of the reasons Clark has changed his timeline for making a decision on where to play college football.
I had it set up where I was going to decide before the season started, but I feel like I can get a better feel for a school if I am on campus when school is actually in session and I can be around the players and around the community and around the people period, Clark said.
It is definitely a tough choice. It is not just a four-year decision, it is a 40-year decision. I want to make the best decision for me and my family.