football

Wark still working hard

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Portland (Ore.) Jesuit's Jacob Wark can be a difference-maker on both sides of the ball, and a number of schools are starting to take notice.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end and defensive end has two offers, from Vanderbilt and Air Force, and has received interest from almost every school in the Pac 10.
"Things are going real well," Wark said. "A lot of schools want me to come to camp to see what position I fit at best for their needs and for the future."
Wark doesn't mind playing either position, he just wants to get a chance at early playing time.
"At Vanderbilt, they want me to play tight end. Air Force said I can make the decision if I go there. I love playing both sides of the ball. The quickest way to get onto the field will be my preference."
Wark picked up his offer from Vanderbilt during a visit in April. While in Nashville, he made a nice connection with the Commodores' coaches.
"We didn't just talk about football stuff," he said. "We talked about off-the-field things like schoolwork. In terms of academics, it's a school that I know that will challenge me so I have a good education. If anything happens, I need a backup plan."
The chance to play in the SEC is another thing Vanderbilt has to offer.
"After they offered me, I was really excited thinking about playing in the Southeastern Conference, the best conference in all of college football," Wark said. "People say you need to play the best to be the best."
Though Nashville is more than 2,000 miles away from his hometown of Portland, Wark is open to going outside the state if that's his best option.
"Right now, I'm just looking for the best fit for me," he said. "It doesn't matter how far it is. I need to find a school I can feel most comfortable at, because the coaching staff is going to be my parents for the next four years. I'll need to be around them 75 percent of each day."
Two other schools that have piqued Wark's interest are Utah and Cal. The Utes have recruited him hard lately.
"I'm planning on taking a trip out there in July," Wark said. "I talked to coach John Pease on the phone, and he sounds like a great guy."
One thing Wark is looking for in a school is challenging academics, and Cal can certainly offer that.
"Cal, they have a great tradition down there," he said. "They always contend for the Pac 10 title and the coaches want you to be the best you can be on the field and in the classroom. They have players who are All-Americans and are in pre-med school. That's a place where I can be successful both in the classroom and on the field."
Though he doesn't have offers from them yet, Wark said he considers Oregon and Oregon State two of his top schools.
"They're in my backyard, and being close to home is always a great feeling to have," he said. "With both coaches, I know I can talk to them about anything. I was a fan of both growing up, I remember being a little kid playing in the backyard and hoping to be a Duck one day."
Wark plans to camp at Cal and Washington this summer. Earlier this month, Wark attended the Nike Training Camp in Eugene. He aimed to show that he wasn't just a blocking tight end, and he was happy with his performance.
"I caught a lot of passes, and I think a lot of people overlooked my footwork and speed for how big I am," he said. "I think I proved to them that I have great footwork, decent feet and good speed. I went into that camp just to show them that I'm an all-around football player. I can block, I have speed and I can catch passes."
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