Junior defensive tackle Nate Clarke will not continue his playing career because of injury, but will remain with the team as a student assistant coach, Maryland football Coach Randy Edsall announced Tuesday.
Clarke, a former high-profile recruit who played locally at Archbishop Carroll, played a prep season at Fork Union Military Academy in 2010. After redshirting his freshman season at Maryland, the 6-foot-3, 305-pound moved from the offensive to defensive line last season, appearing in eight games at tackle.
He could never fully move his way up the depth chart last fall. He was injured in a spring practice this year, and later had knee surgery that had an expected recovery period of five to six months.
The loss of Clarke strikes the depth of the Terps’ interior defensive line, at least for the moment. Clarke entered spring practice third on the tackle depth chart behind seniors behind Keith Bowers and Darius Kilgo, both whom are expected to start next fall.
But Clarke was the lone backup listed, meaning Maryland may have to tap into a deep and talented pool of defensive ends to shore up depth — possibly senior Andre Monroe or sophomore Roman Braglio, who were listed as two of the top defensive ends entering spring camp.
Maryland also has a nose tackle of the future in incoming freshman David Shaw, a 6-4, 270-pounder who was the first defensive recruit of the 2014 class.