Elite 11 Columbus: Joe Burrow and Danny Clark Impress Under Pressure

By Jeremy Birmingham on June 3, 2014 at 3:00p
Danny Clark, Ohio State's quarterback of the future, arrives in 2017

Beneath the shadow of their future home, a pair of Buckeye quarterback commitments stood front and center during Monday night's Elite 11 regional final in at Ohio State.

Joe Burrow, a 2015 commitment, and Danny Clark, Ohio State's 2017 verbal pledge, showed why they will be a big part of the foreseeable future for Ohio State. While neither of them were perfect, each performed well in a highly-scrutinized and fast-paced environment. 


This was my first time seeing Burrow live, and I've tried hard to not let my initial opinion be skewed by video game-esque highlights and junior year statistics. As I happened upon Burrow, I was struck by his size: he's a legit 6-foot-4 and a frame that could easily hold up to 225-230 pounds by the time he gets to Ohio State.

The Plains, Ohio checked in with just a smidge over 3000 residents in the 2010 census, and Burrow's demeanor is absolutely that of a "small town" kid. He's quiet and unassuming but he's also got a reserved confidence that is evident from talking with him. The son of a coach, Burrow is football savvy even if right now he's not "technically" perfect. There were a number of observers who thought he appeared "tight" at the onset of the Elite 11, which was understandable considering the dramatic turn of events for his recruitment in the last ten days. 

As the camp progressed Burrow appeared significantly more comfortable and it played out in his performance. His throwing motion shortened, his velocity improved and his accuracy — especially on seam routes and the long ball in general — went from a question mark to a strength. When you watch Burrow, you can see a player much more in the Alex Smith mold than Braxton Miller, and if he turns out as good as either, that's a win for Ohio State. In my mind, Burrow handled the situation about as well as he could considering the significant pressure he had to be feeling. I'd like to see him come out of his shell a bit personality-wise, but that will come over time as he gets used to his newfound role as the leader of the Buckeyes 2015 class. He's a confident kid, and as things move along people will see much more of that shining through from Burrow.

In case you missed it last night, here's a pretty in-depth interview with Burrow.

Danny Clark

Before I get too far into any thoughts on Clark, let me say that he comes into a camp of this stature with absolutely zero to gain, and he knows it. Clark camped during this Elite 11 knowing that he had no chance to earn an invitation to The Opening (he's too young) and without a need for the exposure others show up searching for. He's a one-million-percent-Buckeye and if he never gets another scholarship offer (Ohio Sate is still his only offer) he won't care. 

Clark showed up at the Elite 11 to get better as a quarterback, and it's an experience he told 11W he was happy he went through. His sheer physicality is the first thing about him that gets noticed, but when the whistle blows he's an aggressive, take-charge leader that is energetic, focused and intense. I didn't see a throw from Clark — good or bad — that didn't end with him asking for critique from the E11 coaches. His physical maturity brings with it a certain expectation of refinement in his craft, because people forget he's still not entered his sophomore year in high school, but he handles it without a problem. As a person, Clark is composed and built to handle the pressure, and by the time he gets to Ohio State, his exposure to mass insanity as a Massillon Tiger, will have served him exceptionally well. 

At camps like the Elite 11, players like Clark are a bit of a disadvantage because he's a left-hander, and unfortunately that slowed him down a bit through most of the camp. The entire camp setting is geared towards "rolling right," and Clark's offense certainly will flip on its head towards his strong side. 

Clark's strength right now is his strength. He's a big kid and he's got a very strong arm without much effort. He's footwork is better than a lot of quarterbacks who've been playing the position much longer than he has and he's got a compact release. His only question mark right now is accuracy, but as he continues to get more and more reps he's almost certain to get that corrected. Clark is a tireless worker and one thing that really stood out was his leadership style: he's vocal and loud; he wants to be the guy his teammates turn to. 

Oh yeah, he's got three years of high school left.


Comments Show All Comments

johnny11's picture

Nice to hear. Glad they are Buckeyes.

+2 HS
jpbuckeye's picture

Man are we blessed or what? :-)

+7 HS

Thanks Birm, is it no wonder that ol' Danny boy got an offer at such a young age... these clips are making me feel very comfortable with our future... His upside looks bright!

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+2 HS
1967Buck's picture

 In Truth, I think we are very lucky to have them both. After watching the Video , I was in awe. They looked good. Keep it up young men. Peace and Go Bucks!!

Rjpfish2's picture

I'm anxious to see how high Clark rockets up the recruiting site rankings once he becomes an upperclassman... Not that I put too much stock into them, but I just think he is going to be one of the best pro-style QB's in the nation by the time he graduates HS.

+2 HS
MikeEagleBuckeye's picture

Man is Clark gonna be a beast!

+3 HS
305Buck's picture

Clark is a freshman, he doesn't have to be doing this but he does. Instead of going on spring break, he's visiting Ohio State and getting even more comfortable with the coaches. Instead of going on vacation this summer, he's scheduled to be at multiple Ohio State camps to continue working on his game. To top it all off, he's already working on 2017 recruits, namely Josh Myers and Richard Lecounte. This kid will be my favorite player even if he doesn't play a down here. Hard worker, unselfish and does whats absolutely best for the team.

+6 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

Danny Clark is a kid I am excited about. He has the once in a lifetime (now I have seen it 3 times with miller and pryor) frame at such a young age, and he has SOOOO much time to get better and refine his craft. His commitment to Ohio State is amazing as well.

Not taking away any from the other quarterbacks, I just feel this kid, if he keeps working his ass off, is going to be outstanding. 

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+6 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I can't wait to see what these young men can do in the S&G down the road.

I'm saying this with a two-time B1G MVP as the current QB. Wow.


+7 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

^^My sentiments EXACTLY^^

It's GOOD to be a BUCKEYE!

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

+1 HS
buckeyestu's picture

It is great too hear such good things Mr.Birmingham, thank you. One question I have for you sir, how did that kid from Calvert do? Tyler Long, you said you were kind of interested in seeing how he would perform.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Dang, Clark has some zip on the ball and a nice looking motion!  I'd almost advise him not to crank it out top speed every throw right now, maybe pace himself over the next three years to keep that arm fresh for his collegiate career.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

I was going to say, with his work ethic and style he could end up needing Tommy John surgery if he doesn't take it a bit easier. Kid has a rocket at such a young age, I hope he takes care of himself and doesn't beat himself up too much trying to get better and better.

I get a Tiger Woods type of feel from Clark. All the talent in the world and is such a hard worker at such a young age. It's like he is destined to be the ultimate QB. I think his mechanics as a sophomore might actually be better than Pryor's and Miller's when they came in as freshmen at OSU. He isn't as good as they are now but by the time he is a graduating senior, there might not be one question on whether or not he can throw the ball.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+4 HS
osu07asu10's picture

I like both of em! Joe can kill em kindly and Clark can bring some of that electricity we need from a leader. 

Really excited for both future buckeyes!

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Squirrel Master's picture

quick question as an out of stater, does either of these two have the ability to be an early enrollee? Not sure what the rules are for their high schools. It would be nice to get Joe on campus as quickly as possible to compete with JT, Collier and Cardale and see who ends up taking over for Braxton.

and it is necessary to get Clark on campus ASAP! In fact, is there anyway he can bump up one year like basketball players do? Andrew Wiggins reclassified last year, maybe Clark can come in a year earlier and redshirt a year to learn the system in 2016 instead. That way when 2017 comes around, he is ready to rock and roll as a redshirt freshman! just a thought.


I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

AngryWoody's picture

Burrow said he was not sure if he would enroll early or not because he wants to play on his basketball team his senior year. I would say it's 50/50 at this point, but he is considering it.

Our Honor Defend!

Iwearmocs's picture

I like where your head is at, but let the kid be a highschooler.  You should get to enjoy your senior season IMO.

+4 HS
buckeyedude's picture

When I first heard Urban offered Danny Clark, my first thought was, "R U kidding me?"

NOW I KNOW WHY Urban offered this young man. No disrespect to any other QB OSU has on board but, Holy Toledo this kid has potential!!!! He has "champion" written all over him. I am just sad we have to wait three more years before he wears the Scarlet & Gray.



+1 HS
SaudiBuckeye's picture

It seems we all clearly see in Danny Clark an exceptionally talented athlete, and definitely so do Urban Meyer and his brain trust to have offered him so early. With all the discussions revolving around how long Urban's tenure at tOSU will be, I will venture to say that Urban is planning to be HC when Clark enrolls three years from now.

+1 HS
CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great news!  Love the updates!  QB position is looking good for the future!

Go Bucks!!

Jbucks's picture

I wanna c this Clark kid in action!! he looks 26 and hes only what 15, 16? this kids recruitment is going to sky rocket come his junior year. I wanna c Buckeye fans go to his games just to make him feel the love of the greatest Fan Base in the world b4 he even gets on campus!!!

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

DenBuck's picture

Can't wait for the Danny Clark era to start. Guess the big question is who bridges the gap between Brax and Danny?

Buckeye For Life

Shangheyed's picture

Most important position... nice to see quality there for the next 6-7 yrs. 

Osurrt's picture

My son's Middle School team played Clark's Massillion team when he was in the 8th grade. When he was getting off the bus, I was hoping to a kind God in heaven that he was a Coach. He got even bigger when the pads went on before warm-ups. Still was holding out hope that he was a big, unathletic left tackle that hit an early maturity in middle school, until he lined up under center and starting throwing lasers all over the field and 60 yard bombs on the money (Note: Not catch and run plays---in the air, on the money). And to think he still has 3 years to mature and refine his skills and mechanics.......

kyo's picture

I don't understand the notion that he was at a disadvantage as a lefty in a camp geared towards rolling right. I believe rolling to the opposite of your arm is actually more advantageous than rolling to your strong side. When you roll to the side of your arm it is very easy to cheat on your mechanics because you can get away with throwing the ball across your body, however two major problems can come from that; one being a lack of velocity on the ball and the second is you lose on accuracy. When you roll the opposite way you have to force your hips and shoulders around toward your target allowing you to throw with more velocity and accuracy. Two different techniques are used to teach this; one is to turn your inside leg and expose the inside of the knee which automatically forces the hips around and the other is simply snapping your shoulders in towards the target. The only time rolling the opposite way becomes difficult is when you have a defender attacking your inside shoulder not allowing you to turn, but in this case he did not face this scenario since these were merely passing drills.

It's almost like receivers saying they have a hard time catching balls from left-handed QBs because the ball spins the opposite direction. No, you just can't catch and you found a bullshit excuse to justify it. (I was a lefty QB if you haven't picked up on the bias yet)

AlwayzABuckeye614's picture

Clark looks like a 25 year old man lol


osubigcunn's picture

Clark is a STUD! Go Tigers and Go Buckeyes! You know, the state championships are now in the shoe. When Massillon makes it to the finals, lets fill up the shoe with buckeye fans to give this kid an idea what to expect on saturday afternoons.