Charlotte NFTC standout OT Austin Clark will narrow list soon

Austin Clark at the Charlotte NFTC - Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)

The consensus four-star offensive tackle was one of the top performers in Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, NC -- One of the most highly-recruited players at the Charlotte NFTC was unsurprisingly one of the standouts in one-on-one drills, as Lexington (Virg.) Rockbridge County offensive tackle Austin Clark rarely lost a rep and was one of five offensive linemen selected as the "Final Five."

A consensus four-star prospect rated as the No. 30 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 12 player in the state of Virginia by the 247Sports Composite rankings, Clark has 15 offers, including the opportunities to play at Clemson, Miami, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Viginia Tech, among others.

Clark told SB Nation Recruiting that he doesn't have any schools standing out right now, as he wants to keep all of his options open at this time, but he does plan on narrowing his list to six or seven schools in about a month, then focus on those schools for the rest of his recruitment.

At that point, it won't be too long before he makes a decision, as he wants to get his commitment out of the way before his senior season begins.

Ohio State is one of the programs he's planning on visiting in early April before narrowing his list.

"Just the tradition up there and what coach Meyer is doing up there is amazing and everything about it is really great, so I'm just waiting to get up there and talk to the coaches," said Clark.

The day before coming out to the rain-drenched field at Ardrey Kell High School, the 6'6, 271-pounder had made his way to Columbia for a visit with the Gamecocks.

"I had a lot of fun at South Carolina," the big offensive tackle told SB Nation Recruiting. "I got to sit down with coach Elliott [co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach] and coach Spurrier and coach Elliott showed me around campus and all the facilities and I got to watch practice."

Want more evidence that Clark has been busy with his recruitment? He also recently took a trip out to Happy Valley.

"I went to Penn State last weekend and that was a lot of fun, too," he said. "That was the first time I had seen coach Franklin since Vanderbilt, so it was really cool seeing him again."

The Rockbridge County product is a fan of the new Nittany Lion head coach.

"I really like how much energy coach Franklin brings to practice. I went to their practice and they were really pumped up, so I like the vibe that I get up there."

Tennessee is also a program that is on Clark's radar. He said that he's visited Knoxville three or four times already.

"Everything time I come back from a visit, I like them more than when I left Virginia. It's a great place," he said.

"After being there for a while, it just feels like a great place to be because all the coaches and the players know each other. Coach Jones is going to do really good things with that football program."

Clark also has interest in a more local program, as Virginia Tech is a school in which he is "definitely" interested. A trip is in the works for the offensive tackle to attend a spring practice in Blacksburg.

The recent addition of offensive line coach Stacy Searels means that Clark is still in the process of building a relationship with his potential position coach in college, but the initial impression has been positive, with Clark calling him a "great offensive line coach who knows his stuff."

With so many visits and so many schools having offered, what is it that Clark is looking for in a program?

"Definitely academics are important, but I'm also looking for a place where I can see myself playing football for four years," he said.

Proximity won't be a factor for him and yet another trip, this one to Miami, is in the plans for the summer, as Clark sees the tradition of that program as a major appeal, as well as the history of the Hurricanes putting offensive linemen into the NFL.

If it does indeed come down to comfort level for Clark, the Volunteers would seem to be in a strong position with him, a belief that is further supported by his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, with four of the five projections having him headed to Knoxville to play his college football.

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