MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After making 34 starts at West Virginia as a defensive end and defensive tackle, Will Clarke prepares for the NFL draft unsure how he’ll be utilized in the pro game.

If selected by a team that runs a 3-4 defense, he likely would transition to playing upright. In a 4-3, he could be asked to add bulk and continue developing as a down lineman.

“If you’d have asked me that question about three months ago, I may have said I’d be more of a hand-in-the-dirt kind of guy,” Clarke told the “SportsLine” crew on Wednesday night. “But since this process has started—since the NFL combine and even my pro day—a lot of teams have started to talk to me about standing up and playing that rush outside linebacker.”

If the waves of pre-draft speculation are to be trusted, Clarke improved his stock with postseason appearances at the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, and he subsequently aced interviews with NFL personnel staffs. The long-armed, 6-foot-6, 270-pounder ran a 4.68 40-yard dash at the combine and reportedly showed encouraging athleticism in workouts.

“I’ve got him in the third round right now,” said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayoc. “He tested fairly well, and people like the kid. The whole process really helped him. Will Clarke I think is one of the fastest rising players on the draft board.”

With the draft starting Thursday night, the three-year college starter sounds like he’ll be patient enough to wait for Day 2. The people surrounding Clarke are generating more anxiety than the actual draft process.

“Everyone around me, family and friends, all they’re talking about is, ‘Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready?'” he said. “A lot of teams like me. I know I am on a lot of teams’ boards. They’re very interested in picking me, but with which pick? I have no idea.”

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  • shepherd

    If you dont think that putting players in the nfl doesnt help recruiting then you are retarded. I promise you a high school senior knows how many players were drafted from the college he is looking to play for. Heck that is the pitch line of a lot of recruiters, come here and we will help with your nfl dream.

    • uncle phil

      Look here buddy. UConn puts players in the NFL. Heck MARSHALL had more former players in one of the recent super bowls than any team in the big 12!!!! Your NFL therory is a HOAX!

      Want to watch recruiting go through the roof? Stop stinking it up on the field and start winning some quality football games!

  • squad

    great job will to get on the board

  • Jon

    Uncle Phil,
    You are a complete IDIOT

    • Steve

      I agree. Uncle Phil don't have a clue about the modern day recruits. They are up to date and look at all these recruiting deals.

  • uncle phil

    Sorry but once a player no longer wears the old gold and blue I dont tend care much about them. I dont see the point. Thanks for your service Clarke but your on your own now. Its called real life. Join the club.

    • GoEers

      Just because you are miserable with the failures of your own life doesn't give you the right to post negative comments on a young man getting ready to start the next chapter of his life.

    • Kevin W

      You should care if you are a true mountaineer fan? It's great for the program and helps recruiting when player get drafted,

      • uncle phil

        Really? Clarke going to NFL is going to open the door of recruiting? Not a chance. What will help recruiting is to start beating teams on the field, get a high ranking and play in an important bowl game. What will help recruiting is winning huge games on national tv. What will help recruiting will be our star players (thats not Clarke) getting drafted in the first 5 picks of the draft.

        Sure its your right to disagree no matter how wrong you are. But let me tell you this - Clarke going to the NFL will do nothing for our recruiting. Nothing. How we perform against Alambama will be 1000 times more important to our recruiting than Clarke. Do you know that? 1000 times more!

        • cam

          When guys want to get to the NFL, and you can point at players you've sent to the NFL - that will help your chances with landing that kid

        • J the C

          Does that render it meaningless?

        • Master of One

          Uncle Phil speaks with great wisdom

  • aquarius

    we had a hidden gem. i've seen player rankings that have clarke in the top 100. i'll be watching the draft tonight...good luck will..wish you the best. go mounties

  • Dave

    Just relax Will. Some lucky NFL team will get a great football player. Thanks for all the great memories at WVU. Good luck and congratulations.


  • rekterx

    All the best to you Will Clarke!