Louisville is home to the top-rated quarterback of his class, and he’s just one of 20. This year’s crop has more than twice as many players committed to Louisville compared with this time last year, which bodes well for Cardinals fans.
Pierce Clarkson, among top class of 2023 QBs, commits to Louisville Cardinals. Pierce is a quarterback from Georgia who has been committed to Louisville since April of 2017.
8:20 a.m. Eastern Time
ESPN’s Pete Thamel
Pierce Clarkson, a top high school quarterback in the class of 2023, has verbally committed to Louisville, according to ESPN.
Clarkson is the No. 89 prospect in the ESPN Junior 300 and plays for national power St. John Bosco in Bellflower, California.
His decision to go to Louisville was made public early Friday morning when his family acquired 13 billboards in the Louisville region to proclaim his plans. The message on the billboard is as follows: “I’ve arrived in Louisville. Let’s work together to create something great. Pierce Clarkson is my favorite actor.”
His devotion exemplifies both the enthusiasm and the ambition of a new era in college football recruitment.
Clarkson has chosen Louisville largely for reasons that represent both conventional recruiting pillars — fit, playing time, and his bond with coach Scott Satterfield and the Cardinals’ staff — as well as how the recruiting landscape could look in the future.
Clarkson told ESPN many times in the past that he appreciated the staff’s “priority” in his recruiting as the top QB on their list.
Clarkson told ESPN, “The potential there is something that is one of a kind.” “It seemed like the perfect fit for me and my future.”
With a series of billboards across town, Pierce Clarkson, one of the country’s best high school quarterbacks in the class of 2023, committed to Louisville. Clarkson family photo
In a broader sense, the decision illustrates the shifting environment of collegiate football during a period of transition. Louisville is in a good position to take advantage of new laws allowing players to benefit from their name, image, and likeness. Clarkson’s early pledge and public allegiance to Louisville is motivated by the desire to assist Louisville get a top 2023 recruiting class that will propel the program into the elite.
The billboards were paid for by Clarkson’s father, famed quarterback instructor Steve Clarkson, to indicate how serious the Clarksons are about their dedication to the school and what they aim to help establish there.
“We wanted to convey that this isn’t a decommitment,” Steve Clarkson said. “Basically, what we’re saying is that we’re getting married.”
Pierce Clarkson’s choice of Louisville over schools like Florida State, Oregon, and Ole Miss to help recruit an outstanding class of 2023 also provides a glimpse into how recruitment may look in the future. Clarkson said that being able to take advantage of NIL deals in Louisville, which is one of the largest cities in the nation without an NFL club, was a factor in his choice.
Pierce Clarkson stated, “NIL is clearly taking the college football world by storm, and it’s something that’s influencing a lot of students’ choices in some type of manner.” “I wanted to go to a school that best suited me and my skill set, as well as one that would grow and prepare me.”
“The chance to work with NIL was always a distant second. It just so happened to work out. I’m not sure what will happen [with NIL], but I know there are a lot of possibilities.”
Clarkson and his father both consider Louisville to be a school designed for the NIL era. The city’s population of 784,065 people, along with the devoted fan base, creates a setting ripe with opportunity. More than 40 football prospects are in town this weekend for Louisville’s basketball matchup against Duke on Saturday. Pierce Clarkson said he knows a lot of them via social media and believes that his involvement would start a chain reaction. He’ll go from recruit to recruiter in a flash.
He said, “I’m looking forward to developing something great.” “I feel I can not only contribute to one of the finest 2023 classes, but I also want to be a part of something unique with that program, bringing Louisville back to where I know it can be and where I believe it can be.”
Pierce Clarkson grew up watching Lamar Jackson excel at Louisville, where he won the Heisman Trophy for the first time in 2016. Satterfield and quarterbacks coach Pete Thomas have struck a chord with him, and he credits the whole staff for making an effort to get to know him throughout the recruiting process.
“When you look at Lamar Jackson and his career there, he achieved something extraordinary,” Clarkson remarked. “I want to continue in college and achieve something great like he did, but in my own way,” she says.
Louisville’s potential is linked to its ability to make an impact in the ACC. “The fact that the ACC is wide open appeals to me, and I’m looking forward to pursuing and continuing to stack on higher ambitions and successes,” he added.
Matt Leinart, Ben Roethlisberger, and former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater are among the athletes with whom Steve Clarkson has worked.
He looked at the Louisville roster in depth, looking beyond the program’s 6-7 record in 2021. He saw that the bulk of the players were freshmen, indicating that they had gained great experience and were ready to return and grow. While Steve Clarkson praised Louisville for making it apparent early on that his son was the best player on the board — “you have to go where they truly want you” — he also underlined the importance of the school winning big.
“The chance to win and play early were the most important elements,” Steve Clarkson said. “Everything else that may happen will only happen if you’re excellent and winning. Winning sets the tone for the rest of the game.”
In an era of “free agency,” according to Steve Clarkson, the potential of a school’s popularity in the local region to create a robust infrastructure for NIL work looms as a consideration in selecting a school. (Louisville is an Adidas-sponsored school, and Steve Clarkson’s quarterback camps are Adidas-sponsored, but it had no impact on his son’s selection, according to him.)
“In today’s environment, you have to ask yourself, ‘Does this initiative have a chance to succeed?’” According to Steve Clarkson. “Many folks are still attempting to figure out how this NIL will function. The first need is that you have a corporate foundation and a base in the surrounding region to support it. That works in Louisville’s advantage.”
After the 2022 season, incumbent Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham will begin his redshirt senior season, leaving an open competition for his successor. After enrolling as an early enrollee in January 2023, Pierce Clarkson plans to fight for the job. Then he intends to expand from there.
Pierce Clarkson stated, “That city, that school, that location is wonderful.” “That is something that my whole family believes. I want to go out there and leave my mark, and that’s where I want to do it.”
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