The Virginia Tech Hokies are looking to bring in 6-7 defensive backs including 3-4 cornerbacks after VT only brought in three defensive backs in their 2017 class. VT gained their first CB commit this past week in three-star Orlando recruit Braxton Clark one day after offering him a scholarship. Clark was the Hokies' second defensive back commit from Florida coming from Dr. Phillips High School where VT may be building a pipeline after signing DL Robert Porcher IV from there while also targeting CB Tanner Ingle this cycle.
Clark has seen his recruitment blow up in the last month with his first offer coming on May 2nd from Bowling Green while adding a few power 5 offers from Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Rutgers over the past few weeks.
The first thing that stands out with Clark is his tremendous length as a long, 6'3'' cornerback that fits the modern profile of taller cornerbacks on the outside to counter some of the bigger receivers that we are seeing on the outside. Simply that length makes him an intriguing defensive back prospect for the Hokies with the versatility to play either cornerback or safety for the Hokies.
Below is Braxton Clark's highlight tape from his junior season.
Clark also is fairly athletic with a good vertical that allows him to use his size more effectively and should help win a good amount of jump balls in either breaking up the pass or getting a few interceptions. Clark also has good speed for a man of his size that should make it difficult for a lot of players to be able to beat him over the top though there are a few elite speedsters that could give Clark issues in man coverage as they do to most college cornerbacks.
Clark showed some very good ball skills in his highlight tape while also winning some 50-50 balls including on his 99-yard interception returned for a touchdown that he starts his highlight tape with. Clark isn't afraid to get physical when the ball is in the air and that physicality is definitely something that Bud Foster enjoys working with on defense.
There isn't a lot of highlight tape on Clark and while he definitely has a lot of upside, Clark is also a player that currently doesn't look like someone who will come in and compete for playing time as a true freshman. Clark has some technical work to do as a defensive back as his back pedal skills while he is still fairly raw as a whole in man coverage though he shows plenty of flashes that he can become a very good player in man coverage.
Clark definitely could end up playing safety in his college if he can't develop his man coverage skills due to his strong ball skills along with his physicality making him a potential rover for the Hokies down the road. Clark also showed that he can make some plays in run defense including a forced fumble in his highlight tape that shows he may also be able to fit well at rover as a run defender.
Braxton Clark is an intriguing prospect that some may consider a boom-or-bust type of player as someone who shouldn't be expected to make an immediate impact. However, no one should be surprised if Clark ends up having a very productive Virginia Tech career with his strong ball skills and great size giving him a ceiling similar to that of Brandon Facyson who is definitely known best for his ball skills and size while he has continued to improve in pure man coverage.
Braxton Clark is a great addition to Virginia Tech's Class of 2018 out of a school that the Hokies are beginning to build a pipeline out of in Dr. Phillips in Orlando.
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