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Notre Dame Football

Portal Scouting Notes | Nickel Jordan Clark

December 4, 2023

Notre Dame went to the portal to find some competition at nickel back last season and they did really well with the addition of former Oklahoma State defensive back Thomas Harper. Harper was a fixture at the position for the Irish and had the best season of his college career. He shined as a run defender, blitzer, and contributed 10 total havoc plays.

The staff is looking to replace Harper and one candidate to do so is former Arizona State nickel Jordan Clark. The son of former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark, Jordan took a visit to Notre Dame this past weekend.

The situation at Arizona State the last couple of seasons has been less than ideal with sanctions against the program and a depleted roster that head coach Kenny Dillingham inherited at ASU. Clark was a bright spot and a leader in the program during these dark times and could be a nice fit in a better situation at Notre Dame.

Arizona State nickel Jordan Clark

- 5-10 185

-1,856 career snaps, multi-year starter

- 6th year player in 2024

- played through a leg injury during the 2023 season, team captain

- pick-6 vs Washington in 2022, 3 career interceptions

- allowed 40.0% completions in Cover 0 or Cover 1 - good for 23rd in the FBS (min. 100 snaps)

- He allowed just a 41.9 NFL QB rating when targeted in man coverage in ‘22 - the 13th-best tally among FBS corners with at least 100 snaps

- 10.5 havoc plays in 2023, 9 in 2022

- 71.8 NFL passer rating allowed in slot coverage in ‘22, 7th in Power 5

- played 37.9% man coverage in ‘22, played only 26.9% in ‘23

- 4.14 short shuttle, 36.4 inch vertical as a recruit

- aggressive, but inconsistent tackling numbers

- 11 missed tackles in each of the last two seasons

The man coverage part of it was highlighted for a reason. Clark went from playing a lot more man coverage in Donnie Henderson’s defense in 2022 and ended up playing significantly more zone coverage in defensive coordinator Brian Ward’s scheme in 2023. Notre Dame played a lot of man coverage in ‘23 and there is no reason to think they will do any different with the corners they have returning for next season.

Thomas Harper was in man coverage 55.1% of the time this season. Clark is someone who could benefit from playing in this scheme. His passer rating allowed from the slot in ‘22 is coincidentally right in line with where Harper’s was that season (70.2).

He’s someone who would immediately compete for that starting spot and is someone who has the potential to make a similar jump with his play much like Harper did.

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