This spring, the Virginia Tech Hokies decided to leave Chuck Clark at cornerback to be the veteran of that group while trying Donovan Riley out at rover with Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson both out due to injuries. The Hokies were looking to find their next free safety and rover after the graduations of Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett.
The Hokies found their answer at rover, but it was in C.J. Reavis instead of Donovan Riley as many may have expected. Now, a move back to cornerback seems logical for Riley while both Fuller and Facyson will be healthy and ready to go this fall. Mook Reynolds and Greg Stroman also showed a lot of promise this spring to be able to be solid defensive contributors in the fall.
Clark looked quite good in man coverage at cornerback this spring, but Clark is a great zone coverage defensive back whose skills fit much better at free safety than cornerback. The Hokies still have questions at free safety, but Clark is the answer to that issue.
Chuck Clark has been most reliable when he has been used in zone coverage as he has the ball hawking skills and reactions to quickly make a play to break up a pass or even get an interception. Clark’s above-average ball skills and reactions project him to be an above-average free safety that can be an upgrade on Detrick Bonner next season.
Clark is an above-average run defender that had 73 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss despite the fact that his primary position was cornerback. For a cornerback to put up numbers like that are a huge sign of how good of a run defender that Clark is.
Bud Foster also used Detrick Bonner a lot in man coverage even though Bonner struggled a lot in that type of coverage. Clark has now become a very good man coverage defensive back that Bud Foster could use some in man coverage to confuse opposing defenses.
Of course, Clark has the skills to transition back to cornerback if the Hokies need him to, but Virginia Tech will have the necessary depth at cornerback that was lacking this spring. The Hokies do have a couple other players who could push for the free safety spot, but none are nearly as good as Clark.
Chuck Clark’s future should be at free safety with the Hokies having plenty of talent at cornerback and needing a free safety. Clark is the third best defensive back on the Hokies, and has the talent to be a very good free safety this fall.