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April 30, 2014

Can Clarke Stay Factor?

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With two holes to fill among the Virginia Tech linebackers, one of the first names many have looked to for one of those spots is Deon Clarke. The flashes have been there of his potential.

Clarke played in the first nine games last season, mostly on special teams, but also filling in at linebacker. He made 11 tackles, but was suspended for the final four games, due to a violation of team rules.

This spring, Clarke has been back on the field and looking to prove he hadn't lost anything from the time he missed. Listed as one of the first-teamers on the depth chart, now it's a matter of staying there and building on what he accomplished this spring and what defensive coordinator Bud Foster has asked of him.

"Coach says he likes where I'm going, but I'm not there yet," Clarke said. "I'm not where I can just…some plays, I do my stuff, some plays he sees my feet slow down. He wants me to go out there, just fly like Jack (Tyler) and Tariq (Edwards). Just go out there, have fun and don't worry about nothing, call the play call, boom, it's in your head. Sometimes, I forget and let myself about myself with the playbook, but he wants me to just pick up on that. He likes how fast I'm playing, but he wants me to play faster."

For Clarke, this summer is about staying active. With the coaches limited by NCAA rules in how much they can interact with players, it's up to Clarke to take the necessary next steps.

"We're always out there doing something," he said. "Coach wants us to do something, not just sitting there, even coming in, watching film so you know the play calls, look at the player in front of you who did better, always do something to help your position."

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