If a D1 cornerback is lucky during his senior season of high school football, he may get to match up once or twice against a wide receiver who has also earned a major-college football offer.
It happens around four times per week for Lassiter cornerback Niles Clark, who has committed to NC State. He goes head-to-head in practice every day against teammate Charlie Hegedus, the Lassiter wide receiver who has also committed to NC State.
Lassiter (7-2) plays Etowah (5-4) at 7 p.m. Thursday in a game that will be broadcast live on WSB-TV digital channel 2.2 and at www.wsbtv.com
“Charlie is fast; he’s the fastest player on our team and could be one of the fastest in the state,” Clark said. “He has a great size at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. He runs great routes, he can stop on a dime and has good hands. He’s a really good wide receiver.”
This is a great recruiting story: It was the speed of Hegedus that officially earned the football scholarship from NC State. The Wolfpack’s coaches told him if he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds or faster with their stopwatches at NC State’s camp last summer, they would offer. Hegedus was clocked at 4.45.
“I guess there was a little pressure but not really because I run in the 4.4s pretty consistently so I was confident in being able to make my time,” Hegedus said.
Hegedus committed to NC State over eight early offers, including Purdue and Louisiana Tech. He attended UGA camp last summer and was not offered, although the Bulldogs stay in touch. Hegedus said he talks to UGA assistant Will Friend every few weeks.
“We just keep in touch and that’s about it,” Hegedus said. “I don’t know if they will offer me. I guess it depends on how many spots they have open. Overall, Coach Friend said they want to sign three wide receivers. I think they have one or two spots open now.”
UGA has two commitments at wide receiver – M.L. King’s Blake Tibbs and former Wilcox County star Lonnie Outlaw, who is still working toward meeting his academic requirements out of Georgia Military Junior College. UGA has offers out to a few uncommitted prospects, including Cordarrelle Patterson of Hutchinson (Kan.) Junior College.
What if UGA makes a late offer to Hegedus? “I would probably visit and go from there. I don’t really know. I’m solid with NC State. It felt like home when I went on my visit there.”
The speedy Hegedus has 37 catches for 702 yards and 9 touchdowns in nine games for Lassiter. “He’s averaging 19 yards per catch,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “When the ball is up in the air, he goes and gets it. He can beat man coverage with his speed and get over the top of the defense … he’s also made a big difference for our offense because he is willing to block. With as big and strong as he is, he can dominate corners with his blocking when he gets in front of them.”
Every day in practice, Hegedus is matched up against Clark. The two have been best friends since middle school, with Clark committing to NC State last February and convincing Hegedus to join him after the camp offer last summer.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Clark is considered one of the metro’s top lockdown corners. “Unfortunately, he doesn’t get tested a lot because of his reputation and because he’s always in good coverage,” Irwin said. “He covers the other team’s best WR each week. They just don’t throw on him a whole lot. They try to pick on our other coverage or throw it over the middle. People just won’t really throw at Niles. He’s great in coverage.”
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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