Clark, a former Ohio State commit, led Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio) to a state title in his last game. We caught up with Tim Tyrrell, Clark’s high school coach, to talk about the incoming Kentucky quarterback — from what stands out on the field, to facilities, to what he’s going to do with the Ohio State tattoo on his arm.
Let’s get to it.
Joe: When did it become apparent that Ohio State was no longer the right fit for Danny?
Coach Tyrrell: Yeah, the more it went along. When Danny committed, Ohio State still had a two-quarterback-type system where one was a bigger, pro-style quarterback and the other was more the athlete like you see now. And they just made an effort in the last couple years, nothing against them ’cause they win a lot of football games and they’re all great coaches, but to stick with the athlete style. The type that runs the zone-read-type stuff and runs the ball more than they throw it, and that’s not Danny. Danny’s more of your pro style. He can run, he’s a good athlete, but he’d rather be in the pocket and move a little bit out of the pocket and throw the ball down the field than run the zone read.
Joe: Did he start to notice the system at Ohio State no longer fit him, and how did you guide him toward that decision?
Coach Tyrrell: Him and his dad both are very good football minds. We would talk about it, but it wasn’t anything I had to harp on. He studies football, and he’s known football his whole life. He just knows where he fits in right now, and I think in the end it was the best spot for him at Kentucky.
Joe: What was it about Kentucky that made him want to flip his commitment?
Coach Tyrrell: I think it was just being comfortable. The plus with Kentucky is I know the majority of the staff personally. I’m a Youngstown guy. I went to the other Catholic school that coach (Mark) Stoops didn’t go to. He went to Mooney, I went to Ursuline, so we were little bit of rivals. He’s a lot older than I am. And coach (Vince) Marrow and I have worked a lot of camps together. Different things like that. I’m a former tight end, so I’ve known him for a while. And coach Eddie Gran and I were really close because I spent six years as a head coach down in Florida. I’d be up at Florida State’s facilities all the time. We became pretty close, so it was a comfortable spot for Danny that I knew their coaching staff pretty well. He had a lot of interest in Kentucky before he found that out, and when he found that out he kinda played on that, and it helped both sides.
Joe: How big was it for Danny that Kentucky kept up with him even after he committed to Ohio State?
Coach Tyrrell: Yeah, definitely. All big recruiting coaches, even when they think a kid is going somewhere else, still keep a connection just in case you have the freak things that happen like what happened to Danny — a late decommitment, and they had that in because they were the guy that was always sticking around and talking to him. Not necessarily still recruiting him but just being friendly.
Joe: What sticks out from Danny from the quarterbacks you’ve coached? Where does he excel?
Coach Tyrrell: Leadership. I’ve had some good ones that are playing in college now that were real big-time quarterbacks. Danny sticks out amongst them, probably the leadership fashion. He’s not just an awesome leader, he’s a born team leader. From the minute he got here, it was just a situation that didn’t matter — senior, junior, sophomore, freshman — he was just leading them the whole time. He naturally does that. He’s a vocal kid, so he’ll be around campus. He’ll be doing things that really promote Kentucky — not just the football program but the university.
Joe: How much did the chance to potentially fight for the job earlier at Kentucky than Ohio State sway him?
Coach Tyrrell: No, I don’t think that was any part of the decision-making in the end. I think it was just being comfortable with the coaching staff and enjoying his visit. When he came back, one of the first things he said, ’cause he went and visited Alabama and, of course, was committed to Ohio State. He’s seen a bunch of big-time universities that were recruiting him, and he said that Kentucky had the best facilities that he’s ever seen. So, it’s a tribute to the university and everything they’re doing to try to make it a big-time program. Those are the things he noticed, that it’s an up-and-coming school from the football side of things. He felt like he wanted to be a part of it.
Joe: Is there anything he’s going to do about the Ohio State tattoo on his arm?
Coach Tyrrell: I am sure it’ll be turned into something (laughs).
Joe: Do any coaches or teammates give him a hard time about it?
Coach Tyrrell: At first, yeah. But he’s just the type of kid, he’s a positive kid for everybody else. It’s really hard to bust him up a little bit, but we have our fun with him. He’s a good-natured kid.