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January 12, 2014

Clarke One of Four to Play in Post Season All-Star Games




The West Virginia football program endured its toughest season in eleven years this past fall. That meant its seniors didn't get a final chance to showcase themselves to NFL scouts in a bowl game setting.

Fortunately for Will Clarke, Pat Eger, Curtis Feigt and Charles Sims, they have been each been granted an opportunity to participate in a post-season all-star game.

Both Eger and Feigt played in the Medal of Honor Bowl in Charleston, South Carolina Saturday while Sims will head to Mobile, Alabama to play in the Reese's Senior Bowl on January 25th.

Clarke is set to play in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida on January 18th, at 4 PM.

"I'm excited to play against all kinds of competition from all over the country," said Clarke on WVSports.com Radio Wednesday Night. "We play in the Big 12 and we play against teams from the Texas region, so getting to play against players from the northeast, south and west, it's a really great opportunity."

Additionally for Clarke as well as Eger, Feigt and Sims, it's the added chance to prove to NFL personnel that they deserve to get drafted or a shot playing professionally.

"NFL scouts will be there during the practice week and they'll be there for the game as well. I can show what I've been working on, what my training has done to prepare me for the next level," Clarke added.

In preparation for the Shrine Game and his potential NFL future, Clarke has been training in Pensacola, Florida since the regular season ended.

For Clarke at six-foot-six, 280 pounds, he can prove to scouts that his pass rushing ability has improved throughout his career. After totaling six sacks during the 2013 season, Clarke was happy he drastically improved his production in his final year as a Mountaineer.

"Something I wanted to do was become more of a presence in the passing game, and I felt throughout my senior year I was able to do that by becoming a better pass rusher," said Clarke.

Being one of the smart guys on the field can also pay off for Clarke during his week in Tampa. With scouts evaluating him, he wants to show off his ability to play in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes.

After talking to one successful former WVU star and teammate, Bruce Irvin on a regular basis, Clarke knows that if he can in both systems without much of a learning curve, he has a chance to separate himself as a prospect.

"Me and Bruce (Irvin) talk a lot, even during the season. We have talks about the transition from college to the NFL. The biggest thing he told me is to make sure you know what you're doing from the neck up," Clarke explained, "He stressed that to me because that's where the speed of the game comes from, learning from the film, and studying because that allows you to play faster."

The East-West Shrine Game will be televised on the NFL Network on January 18 at 4 PM.


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