Generally, when a high school football prospect receives a Division I FBS scholarship offer after a series of FCS offers, it’s a sign that they;re moving up in the recruiting world. For Saybein Clark, it was a sign that he should stick with his earliest fans.
Clark, a three-star prospect from Bishop Heelan Catholic in Sioux City, Ia., committed to North Dakota State despite holding a scholarship offer from perennial Big Ten contender Iowa.
So why did Clark choose the Bison rather his home state’s bowl-bound power program? The rising senior hasn’t confirmed anything yet, but there may be a multitude of reasons.
While we know Iowa offered Clark a scholarship, it’s unknown whether they truly were willing to let him compete for time as a running back, his position of choice. There’s a significantly greater chance that he could get a chance to tote the ball as he does at Bishop Heelan at North Dakota State than in Iowa City.
Additionally, while Iowa clearly brings greater media exposure and a degree of national prestige and attention, the rise of FCS prospects including North Dakota State alum Carson Wentz has raised awareness at the sub-bowl level and made locations like football-mad Fargo a viable option for players who harbor NFL dreams but might not have the size or competitive portfolio to gain attention from the top collegiate programs while they’re still high schoolers.
Will Clark follow through on his North Dakota State commitment with National Signing Day still months away? Who knows. Even if he doesn’t, the fact that he turned his back on Iowa for a chance at North Dakota State speaks volumes about how recruiting is rapidly becoming a more level playing field, across all different factors.