January 20, 2009

Clark keeping busy

While most football recruits are embarking on workout programs to prepare for the college level, Allentown (PA) Parkland Senior wide receiver Jaleel Clark is keeping busy by playing basketball.

"Basketball helps me stay in shape and all that," Clark said. "I just keep running, and I have been in real good shape. I think it helps for football because it's a great sport to stay in shape and just to stay with it and get conditioned."

Clark and his fellow Trojans are off to a strong start. Currently, the Trojans are 12-1 and coming off a thrilling overtime victory according to Clark. At 6-4, it is no surprise that the wide receiver has always found a spot on the court.

"I have actually played basketball longer than I have played football," he said. "I just had a better career in football, and I got more offers. I really was not going to make a decision till after basketball but once I saw football coming in, I just decided to take that."

After finishing the football season, the Mizzou commit only took a week off before immersing himself in basketball. Although playing so many sports can wear down his body, Clark believes that constantly being active puts him ahead of the pack.

"I think it puts me ahead of the game because after basketball I am going to be right back in the weight room and take up speed training and go into velocity and do other things to get me ready for the next level," he said.

After the basketball season, Clark is hoping to receive a workout plan from Mizzou, so he can be ready for the beginning of camp. Clark said he is working on his velocity, getting bigger and improving one more key area.

"Definitely my speed," the senior said. "I want to get that down and get that at the next level to compete with all the other players."

Clark said he plans on making an impact for the Tigers, but it might take some time because of the offense his team ran in high school.

"I think it's going to take some time because in high school we had a run offense, so I am immediately going to be seeing the ball," he said. "It will be a little different to come in and just see passes all the time. I am going to like it, but it is going to be weird at first."

The Pennsylvania native has been keeping in touch with coach Dave Steckel and has received advice from Tigers Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander he said. Since his commitment, he has continued to receive some letters from other schools, but he said he is still very committed to the Tigers and does not plan on anything changing.

"I just made a great connection with all the coaches and like me and coach Steckel are really good friends now," Clark said. "We talk once a week and just bonded. I am ready for Missouri to be my school for the next four years."

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