Chuck Clark Will Thrive At Free Safety for the Hokies


Sep 27, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Dadi Nicolas (90) and Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Chuck Clark (19) sack Western Michigan Broncos quarterback Zach Terrell (11) during the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Detrick Bonner did receive a lot of criticism during his time with the Virginia Tech Hokies but Bonner was a solid free safety that will deservingly get a shot in the NFL. The loss of Bonner does mean that the Hokies will need to replace him at free safety, and the answer will be an upgrade on Bonner.

Chuck Clark was productive at cornerback this past season with 73 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 interceptions, and 11 pass breakups. Clark may have been a good cornerback this past season, but his skill set would be maximized at free safety where he was at previously before moving to cornerback in 2014 to get playing time.

The fact that Clark had 8.5 tackles for loss at cornerback is impressive and just proves how good of a run defender Clark is. Of course, free safeties normally do not play right around the line, but Clark will be shifted down the field a few yards instead of to the left or right so the production potential is still very high.

Clark’s 73 tackles also prove that he can make a play on the ball quickly whether it is on an opposing running back or receiver. If someone makes a catch, Clark has the speed and reactions to make a quick play to prevent a big play from happening.

Chuck Clark is a solid man coverage defender which is definitely an upgrade over Detrick Bonner who struggled many times in man coverage. Having Clark at free safety can allow Bud Foster to use some cornerback blitzes with Kendall Fuller a little more next season.

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The biggest factor that makes Clark someone that can thrive at free safety is the fact that he is a well-rounded zone coverage safety. Bud Foster can get his man-to-man matchups with Fuller, Brandon Facyson, and Donovan Riley while having Clark over the top to provide some extra help on longer passes.

Clark has very good reactions to any pass, and his ball hawking skills are very good when he is used in zone coverage. Clark has great closing speed which can allow him to make some plays in zone coverage that many other safeties could not make.

Clark has proven to be a hard worker, and should be able to make a smooth transition back to free safety. Clark will provide some valuable experience at free safety while giving C.J. Reavis some more time to develop before taking over for Clark in a couple of seasons or sliding to rover for a year before doing that.

Chuck Clark will thrive next fall at free safety for the Hokies on what will be another dominant Bud Foster defense.

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