Kei’Trel Clark brings an alpha mentality to the corner position

Kei'Trel Clark #13 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Kei'Trel Clark #13 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

One of Louisville football‘s clear leaders is only in his second year in the program. But he has made himself feel at home by backing up starting as a newcomer with elite play on the football field. Kei’trel Clark is a star in the making because of one key trait all corners possess.

One of the most important traits of an elite corner is confidence. If your corner is skittish and not playing confidently, offenses will attack that player over and over until their will is completely broken at almost any level of football. Only some will play with the confidence of Clark while backing it up with elite play.

Going into his second season with the Cardinals, he seems primed to assume a very important defensive leadership role.

The third-year sophomore was a second-team All-ACC selection in 2020 and proved to the conference that he can shut down some of the best that the ACC has to offer. According to ESPN’s David Hale, Clark didn’t allow one reception greater than 20 yards the entire season. He also allowed the lowest yards per target on the season in the conference with just 3.4 yards per every time he was thrown at.

Clark, a Liberty transfer, only had one interception on the season. But that’s not indicative of his ball skills and how often he was around the football. He easily could have had a handful more. You can probably guess he will be looking to finish those plays next season.

What does his confidence do for the rest of the team?

A leader of a position group like Clark is exactly what this team needs. Clark himself has enough confidence for the entire unit who will no doubt feed off of him to instill greater faith in themselves as players.

As Louisville’s defense continues to improve under defensive coordinator Bryan Brown, they should keep building upon their on-field swagger mixed in with a hearty amount of trash talk. That’s what confident, strong teams do. A 4-7 squad from 2020 needs this kind of individual personality in the locker room. It’s beyond important.

The quotes by Clark also hold a ton of weight simply by how well he played last season. He was head-and-shoulders above any other defensive back’s play on the team in 2020. The rest of the roster surely cares about his opinion and has earned a certain amount of respect on the team because of how good he was.

Clark might not be around the program too much longer if he keeps up his play. He will be eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft and is tracking to be prioritized. The one thing holding him back is his size, listed at just 5’10” 165-pounds. But the play on the field is stellar, and a repeat season from 2020 would absolutely earn him the right to declare.

For now, appreciate a No. 1 cornerback with an alpha dog mentality.

It’s not something fans have seen at Louisville since another sub-six foot corner, Jaire Alexander, was terrorizing wideouts in 2017.

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