Earlier tonight former West Virginia defensive end, Will Clarke was selected 88th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of 2014 NFL Draft.
Clarke, was at his Pittsburgh home watching the draft with his family when his cell phone rang and Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis was on the line.
"It feels great," said Clarke. "I did have a pretty good feeling that I was going to go tonight. So, it was relieving for sure."
Clarke becomes the first Mountaineer selected by the Bengals, since 2011 when Robert Sands was taken in the fifth round.
The West Virginia standout compiled 49 tackles, a team-leading six sacks and 17 tackles for loss as a senior. He also was an All-Big 12 Conference Second team selection in 2013.
Following his senior campaign Clarke began to rise quickly on draft boards with outstanding performances at the East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and his pro day in Morgantown.
"It's definitely part of the reason as to why they picked me," Clarke said. "Then Cincinnati brought me out for a visit, and I'm very happy that they did."
The six-foot-six, 271-pound defensive end is thankful for what he learned under various WVU coaches for helping him get into position to be drafted.
"I give Coach Stew (Bill Stewart) a big shout out to him for recruiting me. Coach Kirlav (Bill Kirelawich) my first d-line coach for making me work hard to earn a spot on the field," Clarke said. "Also Coach Holgorsen for pushing me to be more of an asset and more of a dynamic player. Coach Slaughter as well, he always let me know that I could be even better. All the coaches current and past helped me. They motivated me to be the person that I am today."
The Bengals come off of a playoff appearance, so Clarke is ready to step in and down whatever the team needs to achieve playoff success.
"They have a great coaching staff and it's a great city. It's funny growing up as a Steelers fan, I've watched a lot of Cincinnati football," Clarke said. "They've always had great players come through that program. It's hard not get excited about playing there. I'm really excited to be apart of that city."
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