Season recap: Tyrek Cheeseboro & Nate Clarke
Like Cody Blue, Lorne Goree, Zach Kerr and David Mackall before them, Tyrek Cheeseboro and Nate Clarke took a semester-long detour to Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy before beginning their respective college careers.
Cheeseboro, a standout wide receiver at Milford Mill, and Clarke, a versatile lineman from Archbishop Carroll in Washington, will follow the paths of Blue, Goree, Kerr and Mackall to College Park starting in January, giving them a jump on their fellow Terps freshmen.
Fork Union coach John Shuman said Cheeseboro and Clarke – like their Maryland predecessors – fared well with the Blue Devils (7-2).
“They’ve got their eligibility and they’re rolling,” Shuman said. “They were main cogs in our seven-game win streak, most definitely.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound Cheeseboro quickly emerged as Fork Union’s big-play threat at receiver. A three-star prospect and the No. 18 prep school prospect nationally according to Rivals.com, Cheeseboro impressed Shuman with his speed and his work ethic.
“He probably had 28 receptions,” Shuman said. “He did well catching the ball, stretching the field. He was also our jet sweep guy. We put him in motion and gave him the ball. He was a very pleasant guy to work with, always excited about practice, always wanted to get better. We really, really think he’s a fine prospect.”
Cheeseboro worked this fall with former Virginia Tech standout Josh Hyman, in his first season as Fork Union’s wide receivers coach. Hyman had a brief stint with the St. Louis Rams and spent some time in the Indoor Football League. Shuman said Cheeseboro flourished under Hyman’s tutelage, and demonstrated excellent potential for the next level.
“We think he’s an outside guy because he’s got that vertical threat. He can get off,” Shuman said. “We were fortunate enough to have a receivers coach that just got out of the pros. He taught him a lot – how to get off the press, get down the field and he knows how to find the open areas to sit in. I think he’s going to be a nice outside guy, a nice Z type guy.”
Clarke, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive tackle, started slow for FUMA. Shuman admitted that it took some time for Clarke -- a four-star prospect and Rivals.com’s No. 4 prep school prospect -- to mature and get used to the military-school experience.
“Once his mind caught up with his tools, you could see a great prospect,” Shuman said. “He was used to being a big man on campus up there at Archbishop Carroll. He was a little immature out of high school. Once he got into the structure here, that certainly helped him. It’s either stop playing around and get serious or sit on the bench. He got some maturity here, grew up a little bit. Once he got that out of the way, he was ready to go. He’s ready to rock and roll.”
Shuman said he was “sad” to hear of Ralph Friedgen’s dismissal from Maryland, noting that he enjoyed a good relationship with the veteran Terps coach. He hopes that Cheeseboro and Clarke won’t be the last Maryland commitments that prepare for college with a post-grad season at Fork Union.
“Most of our kids that we get from Maryland are ahead of the game a little bit,” Shuman said. “[Cheeseboro and Clarke] are mature players. They’re ahead of schedule. Their work here has kept them ahead of schedule. Now they’re going into spring ball and learning a new system. It’s going to be great.”