Bearcats’ Clarkson recovered well from torn ACL, and colleges have taken notice

Scottsbluff’s Sam Clarkson participates in a University of Nebraska lineman camp in Lincoln. Clarkson is back in the Bearcats’ starting lineup for his senior season after missing last year with a knee injury.

Sam Clarkson missed all of his junior season, but that hasn’t stopped the Scottsbluff senior from accumulating scholarship offers.

Clarkson, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound offensive tackle, is a multi-sport athlete and tore his ACL while playing summer league basketball in June 2018.

“It was rough,” Clarkson said of sitting out the 2018 season. “A lot of rehab and watching such a special season from the sideline, as opposed to being able to play, made me hungrier for this year.”

The special season included a run to the Class B state championship game but ended in a 48-27 loss to Omaha Skutt. That motivated Clarkson and his teammates in the offseason, and they’re off to a 4-0 start in 2019.

“It has been on the top of our minds ever since the final buzzer last year,” Clarkson said. “We put (a state championship) back in our heads as our top goal this year.”

Meanwhile, Clarkson is also focusing on his recruitment.

Clarkson spent this past weekend at Northern Colorado, an FCS program that offered him in early August.

“It was great,” Clarkson said of his visit. “The coaching staff and the facilities were awesome.”

South Dakota State and South Dakota are two other Division I programs that have shown interest. He plans to visit South Dakota state later this fall.

Traditional Division II power Northwest Missouri State offered Clarkson earlier this month. His bother, Austin, is a junior offensive lineman for the Bearcats and Sam Clarkson has visited NMSU multiple times to watch him play.

Division II Wayne State, Sioux Falls and Chadron State have also offered him a scholarship.

College recruiters like his size, skill set and how he has bounced back from his injury. Clarkson said he’s in better shape now than he was before it happened.

Scottsbluff features a power running game, so naturally that is what Clarkson believes is his biggest strength.

“I think I’m a pretty good at pass blocking,” Clarkson said. “We don’t really pass block, so that has turned me into a pretty good run blocker.”

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