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Commitment Announcement
Countdown: Fighting Illini Claim Clark

Zeke Clark's competitive fire made the Oklahoma resident one of the nation's top recruits. Although several Big 12 schools closer to home were in the picture, the Big Ten's University of Illinois won the battle for the 17-year-old from Tulsa, who will join the Fighting Illini in the fall of 2016.

Zeke Clark has committed to Illinois
© Zoo Tennis
It was nearly a year ago that Clark made his decision, after his unofficial visits, the first of which was to Champaign-Urbana. He also visited Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, but Illinois retained its appeal.

"After I took that unofficial to Illinois, I thought this is the place for me," said Clark, who has an astonishing 30-10 record against fellow Blue Chip prospects this year. "It was tough for me to take those next visits, because I knew it was the place for me, it just felt so right. I loved everything about it."

Clark immediately felt comfortable with the team and the coaches.

"Brad [head coach Dancer] and Marcos [associate head coach Asse] are both great guys, I love them both," Clark said. "They're kind of opposites and they complement each other really well. Brad's a little more businesslike, a little more serious, and Marcos is still like a high school, college kid, so fun. I feel they both can help my game to the next level.

"The team was another big factor. They were unbelievable, they welcomed me, and I felt like I fit in right away. They really wanted me to be there, so that was great, and all the guys on the team are all awesome."

Trent Tucker, director of the Tulsa academy that bears his name, believes his student will thrive at Illinois.

"Brad's level of commitment to Zeke in the recruiting process was second to none," said Tucker. "If you're top five in the nation, you have a lot of choices. If you've ever been to an Illinois match, it's a passionate experience. Zeke likes the rah-rah. Going to a school with kids that play in an environment with chest bumps and high fives, a really rowdy crowd, he loves that. It's a perfect fit."

Although Clark has been part of the Tucker Tennis Academy for eight years, his father Toby provided his introduction to the game and much of his early coaching.

"He played Division III at Principia," Clark said. "He won two Division III singles titles [1985 & 1987].

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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