Michigan just had the deepest NFL draft class in program history. Now we’re looking back on how each of its 11 draftees ended up playing for the Wolverines.
Jeremy Clark took a bumpy road to the NFL.
He wasn’t highly touted in high school. He wasn’t recruited by any big-time schools outside of Michigan. But Clark was a big 6-foot-4 cornerback, a raw project.
He developed into a star player and got drafted. Here’s a look back at how Clark became a part of Michigan’s 2017 draft class.
Michigan becomes easy choice for Jeremy Clark
Clark, a native of Madison, Ky., was a 3-star recruit and the No. 573 overall prospect in his high school class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
That low ranking didn’t stop Michigan from recruiting one of the biggest cornerbacks in the country. Clark was 205 pounds as a high school senior.
He lacked smooth mechanics but still received an offer from the Wolverines.
During the summer after his junior year, Clark took a visit to Michigan. Boasting offers from only two other Power 5 schools — Illinois and North Carolina State — Clark’s decision to choose Michigan never seemed like a difficult one.
He committed in the summer of 2011 and signed his letter of intent in February 2012, sticking to his pledge. He wouldn’t regret that decision.
Jeremy Clark’s career at Michigan cut short
Clark played in 36 games at Michigan, starting 15. He totaled 49 tackles, 9 pass breakups and 3 interceptions in his college career and was poised to contribute to a loaded cornerbacks corps — that included Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling — in his senior season.
But the big-man corner participated in only three full games in 2016, suffering a torn right ACL in the second half of Michigan’s fourth game of the season, against Penn State.
The promising start to Clark’s senior season was halted. The NCAA denied his request for a medical redshirt, which would have granted him one more season in Ann Arbor. He would have been the top corner on a team that loses all four of its starting defensive backs.
But that setback didn’t prevent an NFL team from noticing what Clark did before his senior season — and nearly his career — came to a sudden stop.
New York Jets take draft Jeremy Clark in the sixth round
Despite the ACL injury, and despite missing 8 1/2 games his senior season, Clark found a way to achieve a childhood dream. The New York Jets selected Clark in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, surprising media members and fans.
Clark signed with the Jets a few weeks after the draft, officially making him an NFL player.
His mission while at rookie minicamp?
“It’s just to leave a great impact on the coaches,” he told NewYorkJets.com in an interview after signing his rookie contract. “And let them know they did a great job in drafting me.”
Clark wasn’t highly touted in high school. He was a risky selection in the NFL draft.
But that’s a chance the Jets were willing to take.