Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 8, 2012 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Prep Profiles Notre Dame Hits Familiar Territory To Offer Top-50 Player Khairi Clark 4 stars Chaminade-Madonna Prep Hollywood, Fla. Class: 2014 Position: Defensive Tackle Ht.: 6-3 · Wt.: 285 247Sports Ranking: No. 9 player in Florida, No. 4 defensive tackle in the land and No. 43 overall recruit in the country Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna Prep junior defensive tackle Khairi Clark was on a hot streak of offers over the summer, but the one from Notre Dame caught him off guard. “It got me by surprise,” the 6‑3, 285-pound four-star recruit said of landing the Irish offer. “It’s a good offer. I heard about how good of an education they have, and there’s strong discipline there. They have a good football program, too.” Clark, who clearly isn’t opposed to taking his talents to the Midwest after traveling to Ohio State for a camp on June 23 the day after being offered by Notre Dame, doesn’t have any other visits planned at this time, but he knows he “definitely wouldn’t mind checking out Notre Dame.” Soon after the offer, he reached out to the Irish coaching staff and Notre Dame’s lead recruiter in Florida, running backs/slot receivers coach Tony Alford. Even though it’s early in the process, Clark knows what factors will be important for him in making a college decision, and he knows what type of teammates he wants to be around. “Hard work, dedication to the game and no complaining,” the Florida native noted. “I want to play for a team that’s known for always being ready to work and that stays together as one.” In his sophomore season, Clark notched 60 tackles and eight sacks. He attends the alma mater of former Irish defensive lineman Emeka Nwankwo (2007‑10), who transferred to Western Illinois for his fifth-year season, started in all 11 games, and finished with 27 tackles and a sack. The offer from Notre Dame put Clark into the double digits with others coming from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Terrapins — his cousin, junior defensive lineman Isaiah Ross, plays for Maryland — and the local Hurricanes are the ones to watch early in the process. Clark has yet to narrow down his list, and he doesn’t plan on ending his recruitment anytime soon. “It’s still really early,” he said. “I know I want to take official visits before picking a school, so I have a lot of time left.” — Jason Sapp Irish After Four-Star Texas Outside Linebacker Cameron Hampton 4 stars David W. Carter High School Dallas Class: 2014 Position: Outside Linebacker Ht.: 6-2 · Wt.: 205 247Sports Ranking: No. 21 player in Texas, No. 11 outside linebacker nationally and No. 159 overall prospect in the country Dallas David W. Carter High junior outside linebacker Cameron Hampton already had offers from Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and West Virginia, and that group continued to grow when Notre Dame stepped up to the plate in late June. “It’s exciting to get the offer out of nowhere,” the 6-2, 205-pound four-star player said. “Notre Dame said they saw my footage and felt like I could be part of the program. … It inspires me to work harder now.” He wasn’t that familiar with Notre Dame, but it didn’t take him long to acquire more background information. “I did some research, and I know that Notre Dame has a good all-around program,” Hampton added. “Academics are what I’m looking for first, and they’re known for it. I like how they play fast-paced football and that they’re a team that likes to compete.” The Texas native, whose mother is a cardiac surgeon, has plenty of time to decide what he wants to study, but notes that he has an early interest in mechanical engineering. While receiving new offers is something to be proud of, he’s remaining humble. “I’m going to continue working hard,” said Hampton, who recorded nine sacks and six interceptions as a sophomore. “The offers are good, but I want to graduate from high school first and foremost to continue making my mom proud. I plan on playing football for a long time, but I have to have my academics taken care of first, and I have to keep myself maintained to achieve that. When you start to let your head get big over it it’s easier to lose everything.” Hampton took visits to Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M over the summer. Notre Dame is a trip he’d like to take at some point, and that decision won’t solely lie in his hands. “That’s going to be up to my mom and dad — they’ll be the ones that would take me up there — but I do want to get up there,” Hampton said. “If it’s a school that I’m really interested in, and I like Notre Dame, then we’ll make it work.” In an effort to finish out his high school career strong, he’d like to have a decision made before his senior season. The program that has his attention early is LSU. — Jason Sapp

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