POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - In 2015, former Potsdam player Shawn Clark took the first step toward his dream of playing in the NFL when he announced he had signed a letter of intent to attend Division 1 FCS School Monmouth and continue his football career after spending two seasons at Cushing Academy.
After a knee surgery his freshman year at Monmouth, Clark slowly saw more playing time, and in his junior year, was 2nd on the team for receptions by a tight end.
But Clark would suffer another setback before the start of his senior season.
“Actually, I had a bad injury. I dislocated my shoulder in camp 2 weeks in, so I played 6 weeks with a torn labrum and a torn bicep, and we got 4 games into the season total and you know so that my season got cut short,” said Clark.
Clark rehabbed and was granted a 5th season at Monmouth, where he had 19 receptions for 259 yards, finding the endzone 4 times, and catching the eye of some NFL scouts.
“Really, a couple of scouts had noticed me the years prior, before. Because they come in and scout other players throughout practices, during the season so they had kinda seen me and been familiar with me and this year really, as like I said, I broke out and they were at the practices, and that’s when you know I had a couple big games to start the year,” said Clark.
While Clark didn’t receive an offer to the NFL combine, he traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina to continue his prep work at the Perfect Athlete Facility. There he went through 10 weeks of intense workouts leading up to the draft.
“Basically going into the weekend, I had talked to a bunch of different teams and I had a couple teams call me in the days before. The coaches calling me, so going into the weekend, and then my agent, Shawn, he called me and just kinda told me, you know, he’s excited. But we definitely went into the weekend expecting to at least sign or you know, get a contract in there. But you know, things didn’t work out the way they did for the better for us, but I think the hardest part man, was just knowing that the small school guys weren’t- They weren’t being taken as often this year,” said Clark.
But Clark’s dream of making an NFL roster isn’t over, as he had received a tryout with the Buffalo Bills once restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic allow him to get to the Bills facility.
“Wow, I get to go back home and try out for the hometown team. Buffalo is the hometown team, and to have that feeling to know that you can go out there and have that opportunity and represent something bigger than you in your own state is like- It’s unbelievable," said Clark.
One of Clark’s childhood idols is also giving him some advice during the process. Fellow Potsdam alum and former NFL player Trevor Scott, who played in the NFL from 2008 to 2014 with the Raiders, Patriots, Bucaneers and Bears.
“Having Trevor in my corner, and we text, and he’s wished me luck throughout the process. So just having that knowledge, you know, and people like that to be able to turn to and, you know, what does it mean to be a pro? You know, I can ask. Who better to ask, you know?” said Clark.
Shawn Clark, chasing his dream of playing professional football and overcoming the odds.
On Wednesday, South Jeff sophomore guard Jackie Piddock was named Co-Player of the Year in the state in Class B by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
Piddock averaged 25 points a game in leading the Lady Spartans to a 22-2 record and their 2nd straight Section 3 Class B Championship.
Piddock says the honor was made even more special by doing it with her sister Abby, who was a senior on the team, and her dad who serves as an assistant coach for the Lady Spartans.
“It was awesome. I mean, when we were playing together it was really cool, because obviously you have that family aspect of the team and everyone is a family on the team, but then you have your real family there as well. So playing with Abby, and my dad as the coach, really motivated me to wanna do my best so I could, like I don’t know what the word is, just exceed their expectations so to say,” said Jackie.