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Evaluating the Mechanics of Big Ten Quarterbacks - Daryll Clark

Law Buck outlined the throwing mechanics of Indiana's Ben Chappell earlier this week, so it's my turn to take a look at Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark. Looking comfortable in the Spread HD all year, the senior has been labeled "a superstar athlete who just happens to play quarterback." A sharp Spring Game performance brings up one pressing question, courtesy of FSUncensored: Why isn't Clark a big time pro prospect?

Daryll Clark (Penn State)


Snap (B+):

  • Security/Ball Placement (B+): Holds the ball right above the 17 on his jersey, with both arms bent at the correct angle to protect from fumbles. Pats the ball to get in rhythm sometimes.
  • Retreat Speed (B-): Instead of retreating with quick, jabbing steps, Clark tends to bounce.
  • Footwork (B+): Occasionally forgets to step into throws, relying on outstanding arm strength instead. But his natural athleticism usually makes it a non-issue.
  • The Fake (A-): Has a "natural fake" where he shows defensive backs the ball and quickly pulls it down and looks away. Picture perfect against Illinois.
  • Adaptation (A): Against Michigan State, USC, and in the Spring Game, showed excellent ability to square his shoulders and make throws on the run. Always keeps eyes up and ball close to his body when scrambling.

Release (B+):

  • Survey (B+): The Spread HD cut down on surveying because of set wheel routes or screen plays. One big plus - When he already knew where the ball was going, there was very little telegraphing.
  • Stance (A- / Incomplete): Looked comfortable and confident waiting for routes to open up. The PSU offensive line was so good that he didn't have to adjust to incoming rushers that much.
  • Step (B-): When Clark wants to deliver the ball with more velocity, he dips his shoulders into the throw, similar to a baseball pitcher like Joel Zumaya. See the short touchdown pass against Michigan, but also see the costly pick against Iowa. The shoulder dip leads to the occasional overthrow, which is an odd result.
  • Wrist/Throw (A-): Where is his left hand going when he releases? It shouldn't be flailing out to the extent it does. Arm strength really isn't graded here, but take a look at the deep ball he throws against Ohio State: Almost fading away, man in his face = perfect snap of the wrist, on the money, 50 yard toss.

Overall: B+