Charles and Clark Have California Love
Oct. 22, 2008
LOGAN, Utah -
By Ashley Schiller, USU Athletic Media Relations
Moving from Los Angeles to Logan is a big change. Even though the more mellow atmosphere has been nice, both Marquise Charles and Gregg Clark agree they're heading straight back to the city after graduation.
"It's cool to relax and get away from the fast life for a while, but at the same time, you can't really get that California way out of your system," Charles said.
Clark said he's getting more used to be away from home, but seeing Los Angeles on television or a movie will always trigger a longing to return to his roots.
"Being away from home is not easy, but it's something that I think somebody should be able to do," Clark said.
Clark said he may want to live in Logan again later in life for retirement or when he has a family.
"It's a good place to raise kids," he said. "You don't have to worry about what they're doing or who they're with. I mean, you might worry about it, but not the way you worry in Los Angeles."
So what brought the two athletes to Cache Valley?
Charles, who plays cornerback, said he decided to come here "just to get away from the city life, to slow down a little bit and get away from all the negativity. I wanted to get somewhere where I could focus on school and business. That's really what this college thing is all about, and this slow life helps you with that."
Clark, a defensive end, had similar reasoning.
"I wanted to live someplace different. I had offers to go other places, places I'd been and seen before. Utah State offers a different kind of environment, something new," he said.
There's a lot to get used to about living in Logan. Charles explained that he had to completely change his attitude.
"You can't act like you do back home; you have to tone it down a bit," he said. "You can't apply the life lessons you learned back home up here because it's not the same environment. What works for you in one environment doesn't always work in another."
For Clark, his driving style has been one of the main points of adjustment.
"In Los Angeles, people drive crazy, always over the speed limit. You have to be careful who you honk at. Out here in Logan, everything is more mellow," he said.
When Clark goes back home, he sometimes drives as he would in Logan and he gets pushed around. "I'll realize, `Oh, I'm not aggressive enough. I'm back home, I need to step it up,'" he said.
Clark has had to not only adjust to a new driving style, but also a change his game as well. Although he played defensive line during junior college, he was switched to offensive line his first season at USU. After playing offense last year, he was moved back to defense.
"It was interesting coming here and playing a position I had never played before and then go back to defense. In a way, I had the best of both worlds in my college experience," he said.
The switches were tough. But Clark is "always willing to do whatever is asked of him," according to USU head coach Brent Guy.
Last season, it took Clark several months to become used to the offensive linemen footing, which includes more short, chopping steps. One year later, he was back on the defensive line, where mobility and speed are essential.
His opinion is that defense is more difficult. "Offense requires you to think more, but defense is physically harder," he said.
Charles has always played cornerback, but he has had to make his own kind of adjustments while here.
"Charles is one of my favorite stories," Guy said. "He came from a tough high school, and he struggled early through academics. Now he's a success story. Just a few minutes ago, I grabbed him around the shoulder and told him that it will be a proud day for me to see him graduate."
Charles and Clark are two of the 43 players from the Golden State. Guy said that California is a big recruiting area because demographically it is easier to find potential players.
The Californian players share a state pride, according to Clark.
"California is California. We're here, but we still remember where we come from," he said.
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