STEWART, Ohio - The nephew of former Marshall University All-American tight end Mike Bartrum has decided to follow in his uncle's footsteps by signing to play football for the Thundering Herd.
Federal Hocking High School slot receiver and strong safety Dewayne Clark, a standout two-way player for the Lancers, ''never thought I'd ever be going Division I.''
When the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Clark, also an excellent baseball player for Federal, ''started out'' looking at colleges, he ''was going to go for baseball, not football. Then Marietta College called about football, so I thought I might go there. And I was still thinking about OVU for baseball. But once I heard from Marshall, I knew it was going to be football. I'd much rather play football than baseball, so I just dropped everything else.''
Photo by?Steve Hemmelgarn
Federal Hocking’s Dewayne Clark, center, signs to play football at Marshall University flanked by his parents Beth and Dewayne, while watching in back, from left, are Federal Hocking athletic director John Murphy, head football coach Albert Green and former coach Bob Springer.
Apparently, Bartrum, brother of Clark's mom Beth, told the Herd football staff about his nephew, and that got the ball rolling, culminating in the Lancer gridder being offered the opportunity to sign on with Marshall. ''He's the one who pretty much did it all for me,'' said Clark about his uncle.
Bartrum, who played at Meigs High School in Pomeroy, Ohio before going to Marshall, parlayed a talent for long snapping into a 13-year NFL career (1993-2006) with primarily the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. Now retired from the NFL, Bartrum is back in Meigs County, has watched his nephew play and recommended him to his alma mater as a potential recruit.
''It's really exciting,'' said Clark. ''I can't wait to start working out and practicing with the team at Marshall. I'm kind of sad high school's over, but I'm happy I'm moving on to college at a D-I school.''
Clark has spoken with new Marshall head coach Doc Holliday, and ''he said they'd probably try to fit me in at slot receiver or strong safety.'' That's mostly where's he's played lately at Federal, along with some at running back and outside linebacker. As a senior last fall, Clark not only led the Lancers in pass receptions and total yards receiving (500), but was also the leading tackler on defense with 70 solo stops and 10 assists. In addition, he also netted 362 yards rushing.
In football, Clark was an all-TVC selection as a sophomore and junior, and all-Southeast District and honorable-mention all-state as a senior, while in baseball this spring, he earned all-district and first-team all-state honors as Federal reached the regional finals.
''Dewayne was a super player for us at the varsity level for 3 1/2 years,'' said Federal Hocking head football coach Albert Green.
''He was one of the best route-runners and pass-catchers I've seen at the high-school level, and they were pretty impressed with him at Marshall, from what I understand, from watching the tapes in terms of those two skills alone. He's not the biggest guy nor the fastest, but certainly I see him as a possession-type receiver.
''For someone who's a little bit of an unknown outside of southeastern Ohio, they (Marshall) seem pretty high on him.''
Green thought Clark ''wants the challenge of going Division I. And he's very aware that it's going to be a challenge. I mean, here's a kid that could probably go Division III and start his first year, but he wants to go to a Division I program and give it a chance. But he's got some good skills too, so I wouldn't want to sell him short, and he's very competitive - he loves to win, he loves to win his position - so that'll go long way too.
''So we'll keep our fingers crossed and wish him the best.''