Oct 4, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams (12) throws the ball as he is pulled down by Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Chuck Clark (19) during the second half at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Virginia Tech Hokies won 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
In the spring, Chuck Clark emerged as a player with a bright future but seemed likely to receive limited playing time due to the fact that he was behind Detrick Bonner at free safety. Bud Foster made a decision to move Clark to cornerback for this season and the sophomore has played quite well on the season.
However, yesterday’s game proved that his future can be even brighter at free safety.
Clark has been a solid man coverage cornerback this season but he does a lot better in zone coverage and had some pass breakups that suggest that. Clark does get beat by a few wide receivers in man coverage sometimes but has very good ball skills which are vital for a free safety.
Also, Clark can rack up tackles and be a quality run defender as proven by his productive day yesterday in which he had 7 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 0.5 sacks. Clark also had 2 pass breakups which were due to his quality coverage when the Hokies went with zone instead of man coverage.
Bud Foster also seems to be willing to use his free safety in man coverage sometimes and Clark is actually decent in man coverage unlike current starting free safety Detrick Bonner. Clark also knows how to play 10 or 15 yards down the field, or right around the line of scrimmage covering screen plays.
Clark also has a lot of experience and with the Hokies losing both of their starting safeties, having an experienced starting free safety will be a solid boost. The Hokies also will have a healthy Brandon Facyson next season which will give the Hokies two of the top 10 cornerbacks in college football in 2015 with Kendall Fuller being the best returner next season most likely.
The Hokies have three quality cornerbacks with Fuller, Facyson, and Donvan Riley while Virginia Tech also have some young guys that should be able to step up as the fourth guy. C.J. Reavis has the potential to be a very good free safety but Chuck Clark is a proven quantity and will be a very dynamic free safety.
This spring, the Hokies should move Chuck Clark back to free safety. If Bud Foster or whoever is on the coaching staff in Blacksburg at that time does that, the Hokies will actually be making an upgrade at free safety in replacing Detrick Bonner with Clark.