Lo­cal O-line­man grows in to of­fer

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - TIM COOPER

The sec­ond in a se­ries pro­fil­ing new­com­ers to the 2017 Arkansas Ra­zor­backs foot­ball team.

Ty Clary started his foot­ball ca­reer as a run­ning back.

For the next four years, the Arkansas Ra­zor­backs are hop­ing Clary will cre­ate holes for their run­ning backs to run through.

Clary is be­ing groomed to be a guard for the Univer­sity of Arkansas at Fayet­teville. It’s a po­si­tion that took some time to cul­ti­vate in the 6-4, 280-pound fresh­man who even­tu­ally be­came a stand­out fat Fayet­teville High School.

“At first I didn’t like it,”

said Clary, who as a young­ster at Farm­ing­ton played be­hind and not in front of the quar­ter­back. “But my new role grew on me. I had a knee in­jury and I got a lit­tle chubby. It all worked out for me.”

Fayet­teville of­fen­sive line coach Benji Ma­han said Clary has a chance to be a great of­fen­sive line­man.

“He’s got great feet and a body that can add more weight,” Ma­han said. “He’s got big arms and the phys­i­cal make up to be a dom­i­nate player. He’s got a lot of foot­ball smarts. He knows how to use his body, and he knows where to put his hands.”

Con­sid­ered a late bloomer, Clary was not an im­me­di­ate

tar­get for the Ra­zor­backs. Tulsa, Cincin­nati and Kan­sas were some of the first pro­grams to take no­tice of the line­man.

Clary was hope­ful the Ra­zor­backs would come around.

“Be­ing so close to the univer­sity, I was al­ways in­ter­ested in them,” Clary said. “We had sea­son tick­ets, and we

tried to go to as many games as pos­si­ble. But I never re­ally thought there was any pos­si­bil­ity I’d be play­ing for Arkansas.”

That was un­til his junior sea­son.

“I thought he was be­ing un­der-re­cruited big time,” Ma­han said. “I thought he was our best line­man, and we had some re­ally good line­men. But I un­der­stood it. Line­men tend to bloom a lit­tle later than other po­si­tions.”

Once Arkansas be­came in­ter­ested, Clary was an ea­ger re­cruit.

“I’d like to prove that I’m wor­thy of a schol­ar­ship,” Clary said. “I want to bring some­thing to the team.”

Clary was a driv­ing force be­hind Fayet­teville’s cham­pi­onship run last fall. The

Bull­dogs (12-1) av­er­aged 42.1 points per game.

“It was awe­some watch­ing the team get bet­ter and bet­ter ev­ery week,” said Clary, who spent the ma­jor­ity of his time play­ing left tackle dur­ing his se­nior sea­son. “Just to be a part of it was spe­cial.”

Clary said he did not know what he planned to ma­jor in at Arkansas, but he does like “the idea of be­com­ing a coach.”

Ma­han said the Ra­zor­backs are get­ting a player who has all the in­tan­gi­bles to be­come a su­per tal­ent.

“He’s a great kid,” Ma­han said. “He’s de­pend­able and ac­count­able. He’s go­ing to be early for prac­tice, and he’s go­ing to go to class. The coaches will not have to worry about Ty Clary. They got a steal.”


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