CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- One of the best quarterbacks in Central Virginia started out carrying a baseball bat.
Brendon Clark followed his older sister around while she played softball, so he wanted to follow in her footsteps.
That is, until the high school football coach bought him his first Nerf ball, and his course was set.
"You could tell from the get go. He was special," said Tom Hall, the Manchester football coach who bought him that Nerf ball.
Clark has always played the sports highest profile position. His father told him playing quarterback is a lifestyle, and that he would have to assume the risk of leadership in everything he did. Clark took that message to heart.
"He does not put himself up on a pedestal," Hall said. "He allows his work, his actions and his character, all of that kind of speaks for itself."
"People are going to watch what you do no matter what you do," Brendon added. "They always have eyes on you so you have to make the right choices."
Clark led Manchester to their best season in school history last year as a sophomore and has not let up as a junior. The list of schools offering him a college scholarship sounds like someone reading the top 25 football poll.
Schools like Clemson, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Florida State have all offered scholarships.
Yet even with the defending national champions asking for his services, Clark made his college decision clear by giving a verbal commitment to Wake Forest. The same Wake Forest that has only won two conference titles in the last 47 years and is the sixth smallest school in the NCAA's largest sports division
"I know what I wanted to do going into the recruitment process," Clark explained. "Wake Forest fit everything I wanted. It didn't have any negatives whatsoever."
"I don't want to go to a big extravaganza school because that's not me. Wake Forest definitely felt like home."
His reasoning has more to do with the classroom than it does the locker room. Clark tore his ACL as a freshman. During his rehab, he became so interested in the science behind his therapy, he will be studying to become a physician's assistant, a program for which Wake Forest is well known.
Clark has been sharpening his academic mettle by taking half of his classes completely in Spanish since his freshman year, as always, with an eye on the future.
"You can reach out to more people, get more patients, make more money," Clark said. "Any job you get, speaking two languages helps."
"He wants to do well at everything he does," said Manchester offensive coordinator Sidney Chappell, who also taught Brendon Earth Science last year. "Whether that's a vocab quiz, an SOL test, preparing for the game Friday night, he's always wanted to do things the right way."
"I think the future is whatever Brendon Clark wants it to be," said Hall who has sent multiple players to the NFL. "If you want to be a doctor, go be a doctor. If you want to be a pro football player, go be in the NFL."
"He has it. No coach, no teacher, no philosopher can describe what it is, but he's got it."
Watch for Lane Casadonte and Sean Robertson's "Beyond the Roster" features Thursdays on CBS 6 News at 11 p.m. and on WTVR.com. Click here for more "Beyond the Roster."