"That's the X-factor, when you have a player like that with the kind of ability, sometimes you can get an elitist kid that doesn't have to go through what everybody else had to," Scott Martin, the Eagles' head coach, said. "He feels like he's earned it, that's not Ronnie Clark. He's taken every rep, drill and hit as much as anyone else has and because of that he earns the respect of all the players and his peers.
"He's a tremendous character guy, that's the X-factor, they're getting a great glue guy for their program that will be a good representative for their school and football team."
Martin says Clark thought he was ready at multiple points before finally selecting a school this week. Even still, there was no difference in the athlete from when he received his offers from the SEC West rivals and his mentality with the team before.
"Some kids, and for the good ones, it' doesn't affect them that way," he said. "He's been real consciences the whole way through. Kudos to both staffs, Alabama and Auburn, for allowing him to take the time to make the choice. Both Coach [Gus] Malzahn and Coach [Nick] Saban said to take as much time as you need, visit the other school and when the time is right, you let us know."
Throughout the process, Martin didn't want to become an influence on Clark in the critical decision, he trusted him to do it the right way.
"Basically I was an ear, I'm a support person just like his family," he said. "I'll answer questions and give you my opinion when you asked it of me. Wherever you go, they're getting a great player, I just wanted him to be comfortable. Because on a Thursday night when its 11:30 and you're lying in that dorm and coach has been chewing you out all day, at that point is when you've got to be comfortable."
With the process now behind him, the on-field potential for Calera's quarterback is through the roof at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds.
"He's one of these guys that you see every now and then that has such a skill set that they could play a variety of positions," Martin said of his star player. "His frame is such that he could be a safety right now, he can grow into an outside linebacker, he has great ball skills and great feet. Alabama is going to look at that and put him in a spot that they can help him.
"And he's a "yes sir" kid that will listen whenever they say that."
Clark's versatility and character make up part of his potential, and the coach feels he can find success at any position because of the intangibles as a longtime leader.
"He's a worker, he's never satisfied and he's always trying to lift," Martin said. "He doesn't miss practices or school, that's his mindset. That's what has gotten him to this point. He'll continue to grow as a player and individual once he gets to Alabama.
"They know what thye're looking for, and whatever it is, he's going to be great."