Ryan Clark was all set to go to Ohio University.

Ryan Clark was all set to go to Ohio University.

As a two-sport athlete who was a major part of the DeSales High School football and baseball teams -- both of which were regional finalists -- Clark figured he would have opportunities to play either sport in college.

He had a desire to play for a big school, but most of the schools that showed interest in him were in Division II or Division III.

Air Force recruited him to play football, but he wasn't interested in the lengthy post-graduation commitment. Tiffin and Ohio Wesleyan were among the schools that wanted him to play baseball. He wanted something bigger. Not just for sports, Clark wanted his college experience to revolve around the opportunities provided by a big school.

"I didn't wanted go to a small school, especially coming from a city like Columbus," he said. "I think I'd be bored to death, not having anything to do."

His solution was to attend Ohio University, where he hoped he would be good enough to make the baseball team as a walk-on.

"Baseball has always been the thing that I got excited for," Clark said. "I felt that in college I had more room to grow (in baseball) and it would be more of fit for me."

But where he plans to try on that fit has changed. Clark received a call from a Penn State baseball coach the day before playing in a game with the Columbus Warhawks at Kent State. The coach told him that Penn State was interested in taking a look at him.

Clark, a right-handed catcher, batted .466 for DeSales with four home runs and 17 RBI last spring. During the football season he rushed for 1,007 yards and 19 touchdowns.

DeSales baseball coach Tom Neubert said that a Division I school taking a strong look at Clark was too long in coming. He had named Clark the MVP for a Stallions team that was 28-3 last year and had a player -- Ryan Curl -- drafted by the Kansas City Royals. The Stallions also won a Division II district championship before losing to Springfield Kenton Ridge 17-7 in a regional semifinal. Clark was named second-team all-state.

"He was one of the best athletes we coached," Neubert said. "He has speed. He can hit for power and he can hit for average and he has that tough mentality."

Clark played well enough in front of the Penn State coaches that they told him they had a roster spot reserved for him if he wanted it. Clark jumped at the chance. OU never promised him anything. A little more than two months before move-in day in Athens, Clark told Penn State he was going there, sight unseen.

Since the Nov. 30 deadline for enrollment at Penn State's main campus has passed, Clark is going to enroll at Penn State's Beaver branch campus. Once accepted there, he has been assured by the program that his status as a baseball player will make it possible for him to transfer to the main campus and play baseball for a big Division I school.