Clark Relishes ‘Background’ Role

Arceto Clark is not the most talkative guy – at least not with the media, and that goes back to his days at Shannon High School – but that fits with his approach to football. The fourth-year junior doesn’t stick out physically (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) and is not really a guy we saw coming.

His pure athleticism isn’t in question. Clark was a two-way star in high school, making the Iron Man portion of the Daily Journal All-Area team one year. He came to MSU as a receiver, then was switched to cornerback, then back to receiver. Before last season, though, most of the focus regarding receivers was on Chad Bumphis, Brandon Heavens and Chris Smith.

Clark, as you know, had a nice year (25 catches, 362 yards, three TDs) and has turned out to be one of MSU’s most reliable ball catchers. I guess you could say he’s sneaky good.

“I like being a background guy, and everybody’s like, ‘Who is that kid right there?’ I like that – that feeling,” Clark said.

Clark was a little too far in the background during last season’s 29-7 loss at LSU. On one play of note, a deep ball thrown by Chris Relf, Clark was a bit passive while LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson leaped up high for the interception at the 2-yard line and returned it to midfield.

Clark hasn’t forgotten that play.

“During the whole summer training I thought about it,” he said. “We had pictures of it to remind me of it, and that made me work that much harder.”

Clark’s hard work is evident in the way he plays. He’s a tenacious blocker, has great hands and runs good routes.

“He’s probably one of our best route runners, I would say, because he’s very creative,” receivers coach Angelo Mirando said. “He’s still got a lot of stuff to work on, but he’s very creative in his routes, trying to get open.”

Through three games, Clark and the rest of MSU’s receivers have been strangely quiet. It’s surprising considering the depth and talent of the group, and it’s a topic that you’ll see written about in Saturday’s GameDay section. Coach Dan Mullen said he needs guys like Clark, Bumphis, Heavens, et al., to simply start making more plays.

Clark feels that pressure to perform better.

“Oh, definitely. We’ve got to pick it up a lot. We’re getting there. We’re going to get there.”

By the way, it turns out that Bumphis and Clark are related, as distant cousins. Bumphis is from Tupelo and is a first cousin of Louis Clark, a former Shannon standout who went on to play at MSU and in the NFL. Arceto and Louis are also cousins.

So, I guess you could say the talent runs in the family.