The Gamecocks bolstered their already-impressive 2015 class on Thursday afternoon by picking up a commitment from four-star offensive tackle Austin Clark of Lexington (Va.) Rockbridge County. The 6'6, 297-pound lineman chose South Carolina over fourteen other offers, including finalists Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Ohio State.
A big thanks to my friends and family who supported me through the process. Proud to be a Gamecock! #WeCocky— Austin Clark (@AustinClark76) June 13, 2014
Standing at 6'6, 297 pounds, Clark is the No. 25 offensive tackle in the country and the 240th overall prospect in the 2014 class according the 247 Sports Composite Index. Clark fills a major position of need for the Steve Spurrier's offense. The Gamecocks are poised to enter 2015 with plenty of talented linemen, but most of them project to play on the interior. Starting left tackle Corey Robinson is a senior and junior right tack Brandon Shell could declare early if he has a solid season.
Clark's scouting report shows that he's got tremendous size, length, and athleticism. Oftentimes, taller tackles come out of high school needing to put on weight. Clark already possesses a stellar frame which gives him an advantage at the high school level and will allow him to compete in college right away. His film also shows he has the will and determination to finish every offensive snap. He sometimes can play too high, but he makes up for it with solid technique and proper hand placement.
He also shows that he has an easy drop step that allows him to cut off speed rushers and keeps a good base to absorb any power moves defensive lineman may try. As a pass blocker, he sometimes shows average feet, but this can be improved on with proper coaching and repetitions in practice. Clark can play either left or right tackle and it remains to be seen which position Shawn Elliott will put him at when he arrives in Columbia.
Clark becomes the Gamecocks' 12th commitment of the 2015 class, which features players from eight different states and just one -- five-star defensive end Shameik Blackshear -- from the state of South Carolina. With Clark on board, USC's class moves up from No. 9 to No. 6 in the 247Sports Composite team ranking.
With three-star center Jozie Milton and monstrous JUCO left tackle Paris Palmer already on board, South Carolina is at least halfway toward filling out its offensive line class. Four-star guard Zack Bailey of Summerville (S.C.) High School and three-star guard Tommy Hatton of Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph Regional are the top two targets left on the Gamecocks' board on the offensive line.