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Former running back Clark finds a home on defense for Ichabods

THE PENNANT PLAYER PROFILETSN gold partner Pennant

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Christian Clark considered himself primarily a running back throughout his career at Shawnee Heights and his one year at William Penn.

But the 6-foot-1, 190-pound sophomore cornerback had the foresight to switch to the other side of the football at Washburn University, a move that's paid off for Clark and the Ichabods.

"Originally coming out of high school I did want to play running back and that was my main focus, but I guess maturing and being at William Penn I realized I really was a DB at heart,'' Clark said. "I've always been like naturally better at defense, so I just thought maybe I'd go somewhere else and play defense and I thought Washburn was a great fit, being close to home.''

ChristianClarkFormer Shawnee Heights standout Christian Clark, a sophomore cornerback for Washburn, comes up with a diving interception in the Ichabods' 29-10 win over Central Missouri. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

 After seeing action in six games for Washburn in 2019 as a redshirt freshman and continuing to work at cornerback during the canceled 2020 campaign, Clark cracked the Ichabods' starting lineup this fall.

"This is my third year here now and it worked out pretty well for me because I redshirted at William Penn and got a grayshirt here, so I'm a sophomore on the field and I've got a lot of time left,'' Clark said. "It's worked out great because I've been able to learn the system and just get really comfortable here. I like it.

"I think especially physically it's better on my body and I like the challenge of cornerback, just being out there on your own a lot of times.''

Clark turned in a highlight-reel play in Washburn's 29-10 MIAA win over Central Missouri in the second game of the season, coming up with a diving interception to stop a Mules' scoring threat, the first interception of his college career.

"So far it's definitely the highlight of my career,'' he said. "It was a fun game, a really, really fun game. It made it better being the first home game of the season. Everyone comes out for that first game and being able to make that play was great.''

Clark has been in on seven tackles thus far for the 2-1 Ichabods, with two pass breakups to go with the interception.

He suffered a slight shoulder injury in last Saturday's 28-24 loss at Nebraska-Kearney and could miss Saturday's home game against Missouri Western (1 p.m. kickoff at Yager Stadium), but is confident he'll be back in action soon to continue making more and more progress in his role with the Ichabods.

"In high school you kind of play a little bit more off natural ability, and then playing on this level in a competitive league, you've got to really pay attention to technique and stuff,'' Clark said. "That was a big switch, just focusing on my technique and my core drill work, paying attention to where my eyes are and things like that.

"This is my first year really getting those key reps and I think over time I'm just going to get more comfortable out there. I'm still pretty raw in terms of playing corner, so I think as long as I just keep focusing and learning the game more, I think this is just the tip of what I can do.''