Q&A With Fighting Illini Linebacker Danny Clark

Senior Danny Clark
Senior Danny Clark

Nov. 11, 1999

by Matt Herrmann,
UI Athletic Public Relations

MH: What is your prized possession?

DC: My most prized possession is my daughter, Dasia, and everything she stands for. She means a lot. Our relationship is good and I think that's my most important thing.

MH: What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

DC: Never let anyone or anything come between you and your dreams.

MH: If there was a movie made about your life, who would play Danny Clark?

DC: Probably Samuel L. Jackson since he's my favorite actor. I would actually want myself to play it, but if not, Samuel L. That'd be cool.

MH: If you had the option to play professional football, but be buried on the depth chart, or be a prime-time anchor for SportsCenter, which would you choose?

DC: I would play football. That's where my heart is and that's where it has been for the past 14 years now. And it would be hard to let go of the game so soon. Plus, I would want to use pro football to get me into other things like broadcasting or acting, as well. Football's where my heart is right now and the other things will come later, hopefully.

MH: In your college career, who has been the hardest guy to bring down?

DC: I know everyone wants me to say [Ron] Dayne, but, probably, it was Ron Dayne. He's a tough guy.

MH: Do you ever compare yourself to any other football player?

DC: I compare my style to players at the next level. I don't do it too much at the college level. I try to keep an eye on guys I can pattern myself after a little bit, those who play in the professional ranks. I think of guys like [John] Mobley for the Broncos, or Lee Woodall of the 49ers. I'm not the biggest linebacker so I focus on slim guys. Guys that can run, get to the ball, and make plays.

MH: If you had the opportunity to play any other position, which position would it be?

DC: Quarterback. I played that for seven years prior to coming to college, then it was "stripped" away from me. I'm happy to be a linebacker, of course, but I would love to play QB if I was able to.

MH: Who, if anybody, intimidates you on the football field?

DC: No man on earth intimidates me on the football field. I have one major fear and that's from a superior being, but it's not from any man.

MH: What was your most humbling moment you've had as a player?

DC: Experiencing injury and learning how privileged we are to pay big-time football, and how it can be taken away at any given moment. It's very humbling to know we have a great opportunity to have fun and do things a lot of people don't get the chance to.

MH: What was your most fulfilling moment?

DC: Enjoying a big-time victory with my teammates. I think more specifically, with the defense, we made a big play and I have 11 guys just swarming around the guy we just buried. That's just a great feeling. I couldn't ask for anything more than making a big play with all my teammates around me to celebrate.

MH: What's your most memorable experience while attending the University of Illinois?

DC: Having a party on Thursday night, September 19, 1996. Partying until about three in the morning and getting a call saying my daughter is about to be born in Chicago. So I make the drive to Chicago to Blue Island. It took about, maybe, 55 minutes, from Champaign to 127th, which is unbelievable timing, and making it up there to see my daughter born at 5:48 A.M., September 20, and getting back to practice at 3:00 P.M. in Champaign to get ready to play Akron. And we ended up getting the win on the 21st. That was the most memorable experience. That was great.