HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The state of West Virginia knows Huntington High football player Clark Wilson best as a free safety. He ended last season as a Class AAA all-state first teamer. He'll begin this season as a first teamer on the Daily Mail's all-class preseason all-state team.
He'll also begin this season as the Highlanders' starting quarterback, inheriting the job from current Marshall University walk-on Mark Shaver. Wilson hopes the mark he's made in the secondary will help him under center.
He believes it will.
"It's a lot easier to transfer from the secondary, because you know what to look for as a quarterback," he said. "It's very different. I like it, though."
Wilson's credentials as a safety are strong. He recorded 80 tackles, 51 solo in 2012, picked off three passes and deflected 11 more. The Highlanders finished the season at 9-3, their highest win total since old Huntington High and Huntington East consolidated in 1996, and reached the state quarterfinals for the second straight year.
His experience as a quarterback at Huntington behind Shaver was sporadic. He completed all three of his passes for 50 yards. Now he directs an offense that averaged 33 points last season with Shaver under center.
It will be a tall order, but not one that Wilson's afraid of. He said he's always been a quarterback, and he has his father, Huntington quarterback Coach Willie Wilson by his side. The elder Wilson starred at quarterback at Huntington East, signed to Marshall University as a quarterback and is the former head coach at Winfield High.
"It's helped tremendously," Wilson said of his father's guidance. "He's been in my position. He can tell me whenever we're in games what I need to do, to calm down, what I need to look for in the secondary. He helps a lot.