2016 NFL Draft Update: Clark Selected by San Diego in Seventh Round
A two-year starter, Donavon Clark earned third-team All-Big Ten honors from the league’s head coaches in 2015.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State fifth-year senior offensive guard Donavon Clark, who closed out his career with 27 consecutive starting assignments, has been selected by the San Diego Chargers in the seventh round (No. 224 overall) in the 2016 National Football League Draft on Saturday, April 30.
The 6-foot-4, 325-pound Clark becomes the second Spartan offensive lineman to be taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, joining offensive tackle Jack Conklin, who was selected in the first round (No. 8 overall) by the Tennessee Titans.
One of the most versatile lineman on the team, Clark started all 14 games (10 at right guard; four at right tackle) in 2015 and recorded a team-high 83.5 knockdowns during the regular season. The third-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches was named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week twice (vs. Oregon and Purdue).
“Donavon Clark is a big athlete, who can run,” MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. “He has played every position along the offensive line, with the exception of center. Donavon has been a regular in the playing rotation since his red-shirt freshman year. He’s a tough, versatile player, who helped anchor our offensive line. Donavon played a key role in helping us win two Big Ten Championships, and on top of that, he’s a great person.”
“Donavon Clark has the athletic ability and smarts to play all five positions up front,” Spartan offensive line coach Mark Staten said. “He’s a selfless, team-first player. Donavon brings unbelievable value to the San Diego Chargers here in the seventh round.”
With the Spartan offensive line healthy at the end of the season, Clark was a major reason why the Spartans averaged 188.3 yards on the ground in posting victories over No. 2 Ohio State, Penn State and No. 4 Iowa en route to winning the Big Ten Championship and advancing to the College Football Playoff.
MSU put together a game-winning 22-play, 82-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter against the Hawkeyes that spanned more than nine minutes, capped by LJ Scott’s 1-yard run with 27 seconds remaining. The drive featured 17 rushing plays against the nation’s sixth-ranked rushing defense. On Senior Day against Penn State, Clark had 6.5 knockdowns and delivered a winning grade, and in the victory at No. 2 Ohio State, he was credited with five knockdowns and graded out a winner in the win as MSU rushed for 203 yards on the defending National Champion Buckeyes.
The Cincinnati, Ohio, native started the first two games of the season at right guard, then started four straight games at right tackle before returning to right guard in Week 7 at Michigan. He was selected Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week after recording a Big Ten Championship grade in his performance vs. Purdue in Week 5, including a team-high 11 knockdowns. Clark also was named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week after playing both guard and tackle on the right side in the win over No. 7 Oregon in Week 2 and grading out at a Big Ten Championship level; he recorded six knockdowns against the Ducks.
In the season-opening win at Western Michigan, Clark was named the Spartan unsung hero of the game on offense against the Broncos after leading the team with 10 knockdowns, including a team-best five dominators, while grading out at a Big Ten Championship level.
A two-year starter and four-year letterwinner on the offensive line, Clark saw action in 47 career games, including 33 starts (18 at right guard, nine at right tackle, six at left tackle).
He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology in December 2015.
Clark represented the East in the 2016 East-West Shrine Game.