Humble Clark reaches elite milestone

December 9, 2010
photo - Air Force's Asher Clark rushed for 1,001 yards this season. Photo by JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE
Air Force's Asher Clark rushed for 1,001 yards this season. Photo by JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE 

Asher Clark isn’t going to brag much about his 1,000-yard season, because he doesn’t seem to brag about anything.

Of all Air Force’s star players, Clark might be the quietest. He’s polite, but seems uncomfortable and speaks in a soft tone when the subject is himself. But teammates say, he’s a bit different around them.

“Asher is quiet,” Air Force guard A.J. Wallerstein said. “But he’s says one or two things and you just laugh. Whenever he talks, it’s hilarious.”

“People think he’s a quiet guy,” running backs coach Jemal Singleton said. “But he’s a funny guy.”

But even Clark had to talk a little about his milestone. It’s pretty amazing that, despite finishing in the top 10 nationally in rushing offense 27 of the past 28 years (soon to be 28 of 29 for the Falcons’ second-ranked rushing offense this year), only three Falcons tailbacks have cracked 1,000 yards in a season. Clark joined the exclusive club that consisted of Brian Bream (1970) and Chad Hall (2007) when he passed the 1,000-yard mark in the season finale against UNLV. He inched across the finish line with 1,001 for the regular season.

“It was a nice milestone,” Clark said. “It was surprising, being known for a rushing school and to only have three tailbacks do it, it’s a special thing.”

What helped Clark is he has run tough this season, and while doing that he has also been durable. The coaches were excited in Air Force’s second game when Clark initiated contact on many runs, which was a sign of his changing style. Singleton said he noticed a savvy player, who was willing to put his shoulder down for extra yards but also knew how to slip a tackle when that option was available.

Clark had nagging injuries through the season, but played in all 12 games, something he was proud of.

“He’s played through all that stuff, and that’s what you have to do as a running back,” Singleton said.

Clark has another year left, and the former high-school quarterback has a chance to accomplish some special things. With 2,454 career yards, he is already sixth on the Air Force all-time list. He is one of 10 players with more than 2,000 career rushing yards, and is just 1,158 yards from tying Dee Dowis’ school career record. Dowis and Beau Morgan are the only Falcons to top 3,000 rushing yards. And Clark seems like a lock to break Chad Hall’s school record among tailbacks, which is 2,606 rushing yards.

“I’m going to go as far as I can, maybe some school records,” Clark said. “That’s within reach, I just have to have another successful year next year.”

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