Ryan Clark, former NFL safety and current ESPN NFL analyst, has joined the star-studded coaching staff of the LA Bootleggers.
This 7v7 team was founded by James Smith in 2010, and has been on the rise since its’ inception. The team consistently places in Nationals every year and showcases some of the states’ most sought-after talent. Former NFL defensive back J.J. McCleskey, former NFL safety Reggie Tounge and now Clark, make up the coaching staff for one of the nations’ leading programs.
“This was a good opportunity to effect kids lives that I never would have,” Clark said.
Clark joined the coaching staff to be a major part of the athletes development; something he is quite familiar with. He is also the Director of Football Operations at Traction, a sports performance training facility located right in Baton Rouge.
“Ryan is a local guy who trains a couple kids on the team, so we were naturally linked up,” Smith said.
With the convenient proximity and the desire to bring his knowledge and technique to the team, Clark had another whole-hearted purpose to coach this squad; his son, Jordan, plays cornerback for the Bootleggers.
“It is the most beautiful thing in the world and I never dreamed that I would get an opportunity to actually coach my son,” Clark said.
Clark’s coaching debut began back in February when practices started for The Bootleggers. He is officially the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.
“Ryan’s energy and leadership qualities bring a whole new element to the program,” Smith said.
That same energy hit the road to Madison, Mississippi for scrimmages this past weekend against 7v7 teams, DBU and Mississippi Grind. The Bootleggers went undefeated and unveiled a little taste of what’s to come.
Former seasons have been wildly successful, with players such as Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Laundry, Jeremy Hill, and future NFL draftee’s on previous rosters, not to mention the repeated appearances at Nationals. While coaching is a big boot to fill, Clark feels confident about this upcoming season.
Feature Image: Coach Ryan Clark (left) running drills with Derius Davis (right) before Sunday scrimmages. Photo by Karli Burghoff.