Clark's and Hufnagel's common ground

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:24 PM ET

There’s every reason for Daryll Clark to believe he will fit into any offensive system John Hufnagel puts together.

Although they are nearly 35 years apart in age, the two played college ball under the same head coach at Penn State.

But Clark didn’t know about Hufnagel’s career as a quarterback under the legendary Joe Paterno.

Hard to blame him though. It ended 14 years before he was born.

“When Calgary was interested in having me up for a tryout, I did a little research,” said Clark, who was named the Calgary Stampeders’ No. 3 pivot this week.

“I did a background check on the head coach and found out he played for the same coach I did. That’s real funny.”

After spending a week on a workout, the Stamps signed the former Nittany Lions star Tuesday and released Cody Pickett, meaning Clark is now the No. 3 pivot behind Henry Burris and Drew Tate.

Much like Hufnagel, Clark had an impressive career at Penn State, throwing for 3,003 yards and 24 touchdowns in his senior season.

The 24-year-old graduated with degrees in telecommunications and journalism and he owes a lot to Paterno, both on and off the field.

The 83-year-old coach — affectionately nicknamed Joe Pa — was instrumental in pushing academics.

“He’s still an old-school coach, but he does a good job relating to everyone in every situation we may face on and off the field,” Clark said. “He’s a guy who teaches way more than football.

“He gets you ready for anything you will face after college. He’s always been a school-first, football-next type of guy. That’s one of the big reasons why Penn State has such a high graduation rate.”

It was one of the reasons Clark was attracted to Penn State.

“Not only did I want to play, but my next thing was going to a place where I could grow mentally,” Clark said. “I knew I wasn’t going to play right away so I wanted to excel in both areas.”

In just a few days, Clark has impressed the Stamps. He has shown he has a great arm as he’s thrown some passes with zip on them working on scout team.

At 6-foot-2, 233-lb., Clark also has the agility needed to play the position in the CFL.

As a third-stringer, he’s more of a long-term project compared with the 30-year-old Pickett.

“He completed passes so we know he has accuracy,” Hufnagel said. “We just need to get him up to speed with the playbook.

“We’re going to take the immediate future to see him in pads. He was only just working out, so now I want to get deeper with the evaluation.”

As the No. 3 pivot, Clark will be dressing for games, which means there is an outside shot he would get into action in a worst-case scenario.

“The coaches are trusting in me to learn as fast as I can,” Clark said. “I can’t wait to get in there and mix it up, make an opportunity for myself.

“This is a chance to grow with the team and develop a rapport with everyone I haven’t met yet. I’m nervous and excited but I’m eager to learn.”

Clark was surprised to see how big the CFL field is but he isn’t afraid of throwing deep.

“I’ve always had confidence in my ability,” Clark said. “There isn’t a throw on this field that I really can’t make. I’m a mobile guy as well.

“People always ask me what kind of quarterback I am and I tell them I’m a quarterback who is athletic. I can make any throw, and I can run as well.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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