Today’s PSAC championship game between Slippery Rock and Bloomsburg features an offensive lineman from Hanover Township that some believe has NFL draft potential.
Brian Clarke, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound guard, is a senior history major who graduated from Hanover Area, where he was a three-time Wyoming Valley Conference first-teamer.
In 2012, he received numerous accolades, including being named to the Daktronics All-America Team, the D2Football.com All-America second team and was one of eight national finalists for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award.
In addition, he was part of an offensive line that blocked for the fifth-ranked rushing offense in Division II, which produced two 1,000 yard rushers for the second straight season. .
But Clarke wanted to get better between his junior and senior seasons.
“I feel like my play has improved since last year,” Clarke said. “After last season was over, I tried to work on some of the things I had trouble with last year. With the help of Coach (Brian) McBryan during the offseason and throughout the summer, I think it really paid off”.
He said the offensive line has really worked as a cohesive unit and the results have showed. This year, Bloomsburg has the conference’s top rushing team averaging 313.4 yards per game. Running back Franklyn Quiteh leads the nation in yards per carry (8.4) and ranks third in total yards rushing (1,756).
Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Brian McBryan had high praise for Clarke.
“He grades out at 95 percent or higher every week,” McBryan said. “He has been a leader on our offense and is just as dominant 30 yards downfield as he is at the point of attack. Brian is a blue collar guy. He puts his hard hat on at comes to work every day. He has a very workman-like attitude and leads by example.”
McBryan, who has been coaching at Bloomsburg for 21 years, said Clarke has played so well his name has been transformed into team jargon in meetings.
“We have a term in our meetings — we don’t call them pancake blocks, we say ‘You got Clark’ed,’” McBryan said.
And the NFL scouts have taken notice.
“The NFL scouts are very interested in Brian,” McBryan said. “The key is his consistency – his weight room work and physicality is unbelievable. Coaches have said their kids do not want to line up in an even front against him because they are afraid of him.”
Both teams are 9-1, with Bloomsburg ranked 12th and Slippery Rock 18th in the country. Kickoff in Bloomsburg is at 12:30 p.m.