Darryl Clack (Photo: ASU)
It speaks to the high level of talent that a school has had at a position when one of it's finest and most productive players is rarely mentioned .
With legends like Woody Green, J.R. Redmond and Wilford "Whizzer" White on the list, it's somewhat understandable. Yet, a talent like that of running back Darryl Clack can not be overshadowed, and with this entry into The Underrated Files, we revisit the exemplary career of one of ASU's top backs.
As a two-sport star in football and track at Widefield High in Colorado, Clack was heavily recruited by a number of major schools, including Notre Dame and his hometown Colorado Buffaloes. Being a multi-time state champion in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, continuing his track career was a major priority. Thankfully, his preference for warm weather and ASU's willingness to let him run track brought him into the Sun Devil football program.
With Clack's elite speed and skill, he wasted no time making an impact for Arizona State. In his debut season, Clack led the team with 111 carries for 606 yards and eight touchdowns, becoming the first freshman to led the team in rushing in 30 years. He also led the team with 252 yards on 11 kickoff returns.
His popularity was nearly as immediate as his yardage, and vendors were soon hawking noisemakers know as "Darryl Clackers" at Sun Devil Stadium. He capped off his incredible season with a critical 15-yard second half touchdown run in ASU's 32-21 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma, and earned a spot on the All-Pac-10 second team.
Now the clear leader in the backfield, Clack had a greater impact on the field. He ran for 932 yards and nine touchdowns, with his 93.2 yards-per-game mark leading the Pac-10. Included in that total was a 221-yard, three-touchdown effort against Wichita State that is still the seventh highest single-game total ever by a Sun Devil. Once again, Clack's name showed up on the All-Pac-10 second team.
Continuing his upward trend, Clack became the first Sun Devil to top 1,000 yards in a season when he ran for 1,052 in 1984. That effort finally earned Clack a spot on the All-Pac-10 first team.
Given his career trajectory, Clack appeared poised for a historic senior year and perhaps a run at Woody Green's school rushing record. However, it was not meant to be. A broken leg limited Clack to just 37 carries and 147 yards in his final season.
He was then drafted in the second round (33rd overall) by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1986 NFL Draft. Over four seasons, he was primarily a kickoff returner, taking 83 kicks back 21.7 yards per return. He ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns and caught 22 passes for 213 yards and another score. Following his stint in Dallas, he had stops with the Toronto Argonauts and the Orlando Thunder of the WLAF before calling it a career.
Still to this day, Clack ranks sixth in school history in both rushing yards with 2,737 and carries with 523. He also racked up 21 touchdowns on the ground.
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