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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Clark, Williams sign

Thursday, February 8, 2007

CHARLESTON -- Two Charleston High School standouts signed with local colleges to play football Wednesday on National Signing Day.

Justin Clark, 18, signed to play with Murray State University while Jamarcus Williams, 17, signed with the University of Tennessee-Martin.

Both players gave verbal commitments last week, but Wednesday it became official.

"I think they're both going to good schools in a good league where I think they can step in immediately and play," said Charleston basketball and track and field coach Danny Farmer.

Clark, an all-state defensive back as a junior, played quarterback and cornerback this year for the Bluejays.

At quarterback, Clark threw for more than 600 yards with five touchdowns and rushed for 150 yards with a pair of scores. He was also an outstanding cover corner for the Bluejays.

He said he will most likely play defensive back for the Racers.

"I'm going as a cornerback, but we'll see if that's where I'll stay," said Clark. "I think Murray is best for me out of the options I had of Tennessee-Martin and Southeast Missouri State. I liked Murray because they were showing me more about their education and not just football. They showed me the classrooms and talked about the education I could get at Murray."

Charleston football coach Al Marshall, who is quite familiar with Murray State where his son Josh is currently a freshman with the football team, thinks Clark made the right decision.

"They've got a coaching staff over there that is totally committed to turning the program around," said Marshall. "I think it's a great place and they have great facilities. I know those coaches personally and I think they're all class acts. Justin has made a good decision about going there."

Clark, a 6-foot-4, 195-pounder, is also a standout on the basketball team, averaging 18 points and six rebounds per game for the third-ranked team in the state. But he's sticking with football -- at least in the foreseeable future.

"Basketball is another option," said Clark. "Probably not my freshman year, but maybe my sophomore year I might try out for the team. Football has been my strongest point throughout my career. A lot of people tell me different, but I'm more confident playing football than basketball."

Williams, long thought of as a basketball player first, garnering all-state recognition twice, steadily improved on the gridiron to where he developed into a nightmare matchup for opposing defensive backs using his 6-foot-4, 218-pound frame.

Williams, used as a tight end and wide receiver, caught 19 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns before having his season cut short with a broken leg. He had 20 catches for 411 yards as a junior.

He is still recovering from the injury throughout this basketball season and he said the leg is "about 95 percent."

"Jamarcus is a great player," said Marshall. "The Martin coaches said they could use him immediately in football and they said he could play basketball too. If he can do it I will be proud for him. I just want him to be happy and play ball somewhere and get his college degree."

Williams chose Tennessee-Martin over Murray State, SEMO and Arkansas State.

"I picked them because they run a West Coast offense and that's my style of offense," said Williams. "They put the ball in the air a lot. They were conference champs last year and I just felt like that was the fit for me. The coaches were real cool. They're the type of coaches that work hard and have fun at the same time. They know how to get the job done."

Williams, averages 13 ppg and 10 rpg for the basketball team, hopes to play for the Skyhawks on the hardwood as well.

"The basketball team was recruiting me also," said Williams. "I'm going to try to play basketball too. The football team has two players on the basketball team right now. They'll let you play basketball if you're on a football scholarship, but they won't let you play football if you're on a basketball scholarship. I've got love for both sports, but for some reason I feel like I can excel at the next level after college. I feel like I can play in the NFL."

Farmer thinks being able to stick with two sports in a college season is not an easy endeavor, but he feels both Clark and Williams can pull it off if they choose to do so.

"It will be very difficult to play two sports, but if anybody could do it I think those guys could," said Farmer. "They're pretty strong academically as well as athletically. Now if they have the time and the dedication, that's something else."