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Thursday, June 27, 2013
At his size, 6-foot-6, 285-pound Rockbridge County offensive lineman Austin Clark is built to withstand a blitz, although the blitz he's facing now is from college recruiters.
Clark won't begin his junior year at Rockbridge for another two months, but he already has scholarship offers from such Football Bowl Subdivision programs as Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Tennessee and Penn State.
The first came from UVa, three days after his performance at a Richmond combine, and the others followed in order. Penn State's offer came Sunday.
"He's obviously the first kid we've had offered as a sophomore," said Jason White, entering his ninth season as head coach of the Wildcats. "He's a complete year ahead of the game. It's pretty wild."
Austin Clark is no relation to Aaron Clark, a former Rockbridge standout who was a 6-5, 248-pound outside linebacker for UVa. Aaron Clark's older brother, Adam, played at James Madison.
"We don't have many giant kids in our county, but the ones we do are almost all named Clark," White said.
Austin Clark's father, Stephen, was the quarterback for the 1988 state-championship Lexington High School team.
"It's a football family," White said. "I probably met Austin in the sixth grade. In the youth league, they didn't have a helmet that fit him for a couple of years, so he had to come borrow one of ours."
There is a Clark highlight tape, "but we didn't send it to a lot of schools - probably 25," White said. "We only sent it to schools he was really, really interested in because he's young."
"We figured this coming year, if he didn't have any offers, we'd broadcast it all over the nation."
Clearly, that won't be necessary.
North Carolina has taken a football commitment from Malik Carney, a 6-foot-2, 208-pound linebacker from T.C. Williams in Alexandria, where one of his teammates is defensive end Jeremiah Clarke, who committed to the Tar Heels last week.
Carney is the 25th rising Virginia senior to make a commitment to a current Football Bowl Division team, including defensive end Jalyn Holmes from Lake Taylor in Norfolk. Virginia Tech was one of the finalists for Holmes, rated the No. 6 prospect in the state by rivals.com, whose decision to commit to Ohio State became public last week.
VirginiaPreps.com is reporting that Virginia Tech has offered a men's basketball scholarship to Nick Sherod, a 6-foot-2 guard who just finished his freshman year at St. Christopher's in Richmond. Sherod is the grandson of one-time Virginia Commonwealth star and NBA guard Edmund Sherod.
-- VCU women's basketball signee Monnazjea Finney-Smith from Wilson High School in Portsmouth is the younger sister of former Virginia Tech men's basketball player Dorian Finney-Smith, who transferred to Florida, where he will be eligible this season. Two other siblings have played Division I ball: brother Ben at Old Dominion, and sister Sha-Kiyla at Maryland-Eastern Shore.
Roanoke College men's basketball coach Page Moir said Wednesday that guard Tyler Akers completed his degree requirements in three years and will enroll at Division I Longwood, where he will have two years of eligibility.
Akers, from Wytheville, suffered a broken wrist as a freshman at Roanoke and was redshirted. He played in 17 games this past season "but was a guy, had he returned, who would have been in our top seven," Moir said. "He's an incredible practice player."
Roanoke newcomers will include 6-foot-4 John Fitchett, leading scorer for the past three seasons at Lafayette High School in Williamsburg, and 6-2 Marcus Scott from Saint Vincent Pallotti in Laurel, Md.
Hidden Valley soccer player Tyler Blankenship, the boys' defensive player of the year in the River Ridge District, has made an oral commitment to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.
Rose-Hulman was rated by U.S. News and World Report as having the best undergraduate engineering program in the country for a school that does not offer an engineering doctorate. Blankenship, whose father played football at Virginia Tech, was a valedictorian at Hidden Valley.
Division III Rose-Hulman competes in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and has three conference titles in the past five years.
Scott Silverstein, whose 10-2 record led Virginia's pitching staff this past season, made his professional debut Monday night in Pulaski, where he received a no-decision after giving up four hits and one run in six innings for Bluefield. The Toronto Blue Jays took Silverstein in the 25th round.
Silverstein was opposed by a former UVa teammate, Pulaski third baseman Keith Werman, while another ex-Cavalier, Pulaski County's Jared King, watched from the stands.
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