- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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LUBBOCK, Texas -- Getting Le'Raven Clark to talk football can be a challenge. He’s shy. He tries to keep to himself and keep his answers short. According to his Texas Tech coaches, the senior All-Big 12 offensive tackle has just three favorite topics of conversation: hunting, fishing and carpentry. He’s basically the Ron Swanson of the Red Raiders. So that’s what we talked about during a sit-down with Clark this week.
Max Olson: So, first off, I hear you’re quite the outdoorsman.
Clark: Yeah. I went hunting a bunch this past hunting season. Got a whole bunch. I shot my first mule deer; that was pretty nice. An 11-pointer a little north of here. It’s not bad out around here. I go with a couple guys on the team, whenever we get a little time off.
Olson: Have any other good stories from those trips?
Clark: Not too many. Went goose hunting. That was fun, an interesting little deal this past January. It went good; we had a nice little setup. Had about 400 or 500 decoys we had to set up. We were lying out there in an open field and they came in. I think we ended up with 15 or so. They did a bunch of missing. I didn’t.
How long have you been hunting?
Clark: That was my first time with geese. But I grew up on this, for the most part. I taught myself mostly. Kinda got bored, grew up in the country in Rockdale, Texas, and needed something to do. I think I probably had my first BB gun when I was like 3. I don’t know why they turned us loose with BB guns. But they did. They trusted us a little too much.
Olson: You do a lot of fishing as well, right?
Clark: Anything outdoors is pretty much up my alley, for the most part. Fishing is definitely up there. I got to a little over spring break. Did all right. Caught a bunch of bass around Rockdale.
Olson: What’s been your favorite catch so far?
Size-wise? I think I caught a 12-pound bass one time. I was a kid when I caught that. Still remember it.
Olson: Your coaches say you’re into carpentry, too. What do they mean by that?
Clark: Up here, I don’t have very many opportunities to go hunting or fishing or do too much. Whenever I do get some free time, I’ve always liked to build things. I mostly make furniture or décor pieces. Mainly tables and coffee tables. I’ve built a few bars, some bed frames, stuff like that.
Olson: Just out of sheer curiosity? Or are you trying to sell them?
Clark: Some of it is playing around, some of it I’ll sell. If someone tells me they want something, I’ll make them a custom order. Just for a little extra money on the side. Pretty much teammates or people I know, or word of mouth. Sometimes I’ll put things on Craigslist if I need money for something. I’ve gotta figure out some way to pay rent.
Olson: So your place must be filled with these creations, right? What have you kept?
Clark: I built a display box, a coffee table that I keep at the house. It’s pretty nice. I built an old vintage window I found at a thrift store. Anything old is always a go. I go thrifting a lot for stuff like that, try to find things. I don’t really like to buy too much new stuff. Old stuff is always better.
Olson: Do you think you’ll want to focus on this whenever you’re done with football?
Clark: Possibly. It’s potentially a choice. Usually I make stuff out of pallet wood and stuff like that, so it doesn’t cost me anything to make. New wood isn’t my deal, either. I like to repurpose things or upcycle.
Olson: Can you remember when you started taking an interest in woodworking?
Clark: Well, I built my own treehouse. I was probably 10.
Olson: Was it any good?
Clark: I mean, I won’t say it was the greatest. But I didn’t have nothing better to do.
Olson: Do you think you found those hobbies as kind of a peaceful escape?
Clark: For sure, it’s peaceful and nice to get away from the struggles of life, I guess. I don’t party or go out or anything. Usually hunting or fishing is where I’m at. Hanging out in the woods somewhere. Just trying to get away.