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Darryl Clark stays loyal to Paterno



Published: Sat, February 5, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The former Ursuline QB spent a year at Kiski Prep before signing with Penn State.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Daryll Clark sounds confident when he talks about football.

Unless he's speaking with Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who is entering his 40th season leading the Nittany Lions.

"It's like I told my dad, the last three times I've met with Joe Paterno, every time I've sat down, I've had a hard time answering his questions because you're saying to yourself, 'I'm sitting right next to Joe Paterno! I'm talking to Joe Paterno!' "

Clark, a 2004 Ursuline High School graduate, signed his letter of intent to play at Penn State earlier this week. Clark also was part of the 2004 Penn State recruiting class, but he did not qualify academically, so he enrolled at Kiski Prep in Saltsburg, Pa.

He's maintained high grades, has bulked up to 205 pounds and is on track to graduate in May.

"I've been away for a year, and I don't know the playbook. But all in all, it will come together," said Clark, who is town visiting family and friends this weekend.

Commitment never wavered

Clark started for two seasons at Ursuline, completing 238 of 409 passes for 3,814 yards and 35 touchdowns in his career. He also rushed for over 500 yards and scored nine touchdowns.

As a senior, Clark was first team All-Steel Valley Conference and All-Northeast Ohio Inland, and was a second team All-Ohioan.

He said his commitment to Penn State never wavered, even though Penn State is coming off a 4-7 season and is 26-33 over the last five seasons. The letter of intent Clark signed last year no longer was binding, and he was free to sign with any other school.

Clark has plenty of company in his freshman class. National recruiting expert Tom Lemming said Paterno, 78, had the 18th-best recruiting class in the nation. It consists of 21 players.

With Clark, Paterno has three young quarterbacks to look. Paul Cianciolo and Anthony Morelli were part of last season's freshman class.

"The more competition, the better," Clark said. "It shows you how hard you have to compete, and it brings out the best in you."

The year at Kiski Prep improved his confidence in the classroom, and he expects to do well in class and on the football field at Penn State.

"I talked to a couple of the players, and they said you've got to come in with a confident attitude and be prepared to make plays and play for the team. I'm going to try and get myself where I need to be."




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