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Published: Sunday, 4/14/2013

UM NOTEBOOK

Wake-up call lifts Clark to new heights

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ANN ARBOR — Earlier in the week, Taylor Lewan put the word on Frank Clark.

Specifically, the Michigan football team’s NFL-caliber offensive tackle singled out the defensive end as a bright spot on Michigan’s defense — and as a potential All-Big Ten Conference candidate.

“I don’t really get into reading blogs or reading the media, but it was actually a family member [who told me],” Clark said Saturday after Michigan’s spring game. “When they mentioned it to me, it meant a lot to me. Taylor, he’s such a great player and an All-American. For someone of his stature to mention me as a player he looks at like that, it meant a lot.”

Clark had 25 tackles (16 unassisted and nine tackles for loss) and two sacks in 12 games in 2012. But Clark’s path to this point and to Lewan’s public praise didn’t come without its lumps.

The junior was arrested last June after he allegedly stole a laptop computer from a campus dorm room, and he was later suspended by the team and sat out Michigan’s season opener against Alabama. In September, Clark pleaded guilty to a second-degree felony home-invasion charge, and in November he was sentenced to one year of probation. Under Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, Clark’s record will be expunged if he complies with the terms of his probation for one year.

Clark believes he was fortunate to receive a second chance — from Michigan’s coaches and from his teammates.

“It would be an understatement if I told you how much I learned from it,” Clark said. “I’ve learned, basically, how to become a better teammate. It woke me up as a player and as a teammate. I’ve basically dedicated the last season to everybody on the team, especially the guys on defense, because I know how much it could have cost them if I’d been out for the whole season.”

LOCAL TIES: A pair of Toledo-area products saw time on the field in Saturday’s spring game. Chris Wormley, a Whitmer graduate, played on the defensive line after missing the fall because of surgery to repair a torn ACL.

“Chris was a little tentative early in the spring, but I think he’s really had a good spring,” head coach Brady Hoke said. “His recovery, his confidence, and all those things are really good.”

Jack Miller, a St. John’s Jesuit graduate, worked at center with Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner, and Hoke said the redshirt sophomore is in competition at the spot with Graham Glasgow.

“Jack has really grown as a player,” Hoke said. “So much of this is above the neck. He’s made some real strides in his accountability and how he goes about being a bell cow, if you would, when you look at your offensive line.”



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