Mt. Diablo High football player David Clark gets college offers from 2 Oregon schools

Mt. Diablo High football player David Clark gets college offers from 2 Oregon schools

Mt. Diablo High football player David Clark gets college offers from 2 Oregon schools
Linebacker David Clark (left) and his head coach Donald James of Mt. Diablo High are excited about the offers from two Oregon colleges the senior linebacker has received to play NCAA Division III football next fall. Northwest Conference rivals Pacific and George Fox universities are each hoping to lure all-DAL player Clark to their program. (Jay Bedecarré photo)

Will he follow in footsteps of Mt. Diablo football legends?

Third-year Mt. Diablo High football coach Donald James was excited to call The Pioneer last month to announce that his linebacker-tight end David Clark had received an offer from a college in Oregon to play defense next fall. Just days later he texted that Clark had received a second offer from a school in that state.

First to contact him was Pacific University. The NCAA Division III school in Forest Grove, 25 miles west of Portland, has the unique nickname of the Boxers. Before long, George Fox University in nearby Newberg, less than a 30-minutes’ drive from Pacific, was also offering Clark a spot on its Bruins defense for the 2021 fall season.

Both schools are members of the Northwest Conference which includes nine D-III private universities and colleges from Oregon and Washington.

Division III schools do not have athletic scholarships, but the Red Devils senior captain Clark has been offered financial aid. He carries a 3.6 GPA that he expects to increase during this school year. He’s interested in studying psychology in college.


Clark, who is just a whisker under 6-0 tall and weighs 210 pounds, did not join the football program until the spring of his freshman year for off-season workouts so he has only played two years of organized games. He says when he began working out “I couldn’t lift the [weight] bar.” During the pandemic he’s been weightlifting at home and meeting up with some teammates for conditioning in neighborhood parks.

During his sophomore and junior years Clark was voted first-team all-Diablo Athletic League Valley Division defense. He also wrestled heavyweight the last two years for the Red Devils.

In mid-March when the pandemic shutdown all sports and on campus learning James began sending out emails and tape on Clark to D-III schools. With virtually no summer programs or fall football that is all schools have to go on at this time in recruiting California players.

Clark is going to make an official visit to the George Fox campus on Nov. 19, just weeks before the Red Devils begin official workouts Dec. 7 in preparation for this unusual football season beginning in January.

Validation on the work

For Coach DJ and his small coaching staff of Lajon Lindsey, Virdell Larkins and Daquan Smith it’s a validation on the work they have done in developing “a football culture change” at Concord’s oldest high school. James has worked on the Mt. Diablo campus for five years but for the first two years he was an assistant football coach at Oakland Tech.

“When I interviewed for this head coaching job, I told them [interviewers] that within five years we’d have a player getting offers from a college. I got some weird looks,” James said with a smile. He achieved that goal in his third season, all of which Clark has been a part of.

The coaches stress to their players “trust the coach, trust the program” as they build up Mt. Diablo football.

For the final game of the 2019 season there were 30 players suited up for Diablo, more than in many years. Only five of those were seniors so the coaching staff already has 25 returning varsity players for this season before any of the JV players or freshmen come out. “Last year we actually ran out of equipment to outfit all the players,” Coach DJ said in illustrating the turnaround in participation in the football program.

The season begins on Jan. 8 when the Sonoma Valley Dragons come to newly finished Hart Fairclough Red Devil Stadium for a non-league game. The Red Devils host Ygnacio Valley in the first Diablo Athletic League Valley Division game on Feb. 19. The North Coast Section playoffs start on the Mar. 26-27 weekend.

Mt. Diablo Hall of Fame football alumni make their mark

To the best of anyone’s recollection, the last Mt. Diablo player to go directly to a four-year college football program was 2012 MDHS Sports Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Reese, a three-sport star for the Red Devils. After graduating from Diablo in 1991 Reese played four seasons at San Jose State. In his 1993 junior year he was second-team All-Big West as the Spartan team leader in touchdown receptions and yards per catch. His 76-yard touchdown reception versus Nevada was the team’s longest run or pass that season.

Long-time San Jose State sports information director Lawrence Fan mentioned that wide receiver Reese wore jersey No. 80 like 49ers immortal Jerry Rice. He would get kidded about the similarity of names, uniform number and position.

For his final two years with the Spartans his head coach was College Football Hall of Fame honoree John Ralston, who is also in the Mt. Diablo Sports Hall after spending 1951-54 at the Concord school.

Reese went on to play wide receiver for a season for the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe, briefly for the Buffalo Bills and had a long career in the Arena Football League with the San Jose SaberCats.

1960s Powerhouse

Mt. Diablo football teams were a regional powerhouse up through the 1960s and sent two 1950’s era graduates, Dan Colchico and Ted Plumb, to the NFL. Plumb (MDHS Class of 1957) won a Super Bowl ring with the 1984 Chicago Bears during his quarter century coaching for five NFL teams. He then was director of pro scouting for the St. Louis Rams when they won the 2000 Super Bowl.

Colchico played six seasons with the 49ers starting in 1960 and two with the New Orleans Saints. He had moved from Mt. Diablo in 1955 to DVC and then to San Jose State before the pros.

Tom Brown went from MD in 1961 to Cal and played both football and rugby for the Bears.

A pair of 1971 Red Devil classmates, Pat Micco and Joe DeRosa, played alongside each other as starters on the offensive line at Cal for the Golden Bears, including during the magical 1975 season as Pacific-8 co-champions.