GREG CLARK has a problem. A psychology student at Stanford, he is required to finish final exams June 10, but a well-known business franchise in the area has offered him a high-paying, high-profile job with perks that begins June 1. He has tried to convince his professors to let him take the exams early, but they aren't impressed or accommodating, even if his employer IS the San Francisco 49ers.

"The professors here don't care if you're an athlete," says Clark. "I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to do school and football."Not that he's complaining. Clark, born and raised in Utah, was a third-round pick in the recent NFL draft, taken by one of the glamour teams in all of sports and one that showcases its tight end, Clark's position. The word is that starting tight end Brent Jones will play another season and then retire, leaving the job to, well, how about Clark?

On draft day, Clark gathered with family and friends in the converted garage that serves as his Palo Alto apartment - "a real dive," he calls it - and watched the draft unfold on TV. And watched. And watched. They had been watching for nine hours when Indianapolis' turn came up in the third round. The phone rang. "Oh, no," thought Clark. "Indianapolis." Wrong. It was the 49ers. The voice on the other end of the line explained that the Niners had spent the last 45 minutes arranging a trade with Indianapolis to move up nine slots in the draft so they could pick him.

Clark covered the mouthpiece. "You guys aren't going to believe this," he told the gathering in his apartment. Moments later he hung up the phone. "It's the 49ers," he announced. Everyone in the place went bonkers. "We were jumping up and down screaming," says Clark. When his father heard the news on TV in Utah he jumped out of his chair and hit his head on the ceiling.

"And the ceiling is 16 feet high," says Clark. "It can't get better than this. It's such a great organization and it's right here, too."

Clark says life has been crazy since the draft. Minicamp begins on June 1, and he's got tests to take and classes to study and 49er plays and terminology to learn. The day after the draft, the 49ers brought Clark to their office complex for a press conference, but used the opportunity to begin teaching the offense to him and first-round draft pick Jim Druckenmiller, the quarterback from Virginia Tech.

"They don't waste time," says Clark. "We met with our position coaches and they started coaching us. Jim was flabbergasted. They were just trying to cram everything they could."

Nobody could have imagined that Clark would someday be the 77th player chosen in the entire NFL draft, or that he would be the first player with Utah connections to be drafted. When he graduated from Viewmont High, here's how many instate schools offered him a scholarship: zero.

Sure, Clark was a versatile prep player - he played wide receiver, tight end, tailback, outside linebacker, cornerback, strong safety, free safety, long snapper. But he also was 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, with 4.9 speed. Skinny AND slow. He was too small to be a tight end, too slow to be a wide receiver.

"No one knew where to play me," says Clark. "And they weren't sure I could put on weight. It made it difficult for teams. Memphis State was the only one to offer a scholarship. BYU tripped me, then pulled out at the end. I'm glad it happened the way it did."

The way it happened was that Clark wound up getting an education at a prestigious academic institution, as well as a broad education on the gridiron that prepared him well for the professional game.

A late-bloomer, Clark gained 10 pounds a year, topping out at just under 260. Curiously, he got bigger without getting slower. He also got stronger. At the NFL combine, he bench pressed 220 pounds 35 times, the best by any college prospect.

He served a two-year Mormon mission, then played football for Ricks College. After two years there, Clark had his choice of schools - USC, UCLA, Ohio State, Texas, Arizona State. (BYU was mildly interested, but the Cougars already had a pair of good tight ends - Chad Lewis and Itula Mili - and they wanted to make him a linebacker if he could wait for a scholarship.) Bill Walsh, the 49er guru who was Stanford's coach at the time, helped sign Clark, then resigned, and Stanford turned to the running game. A pass catcher at Ricks, Clark became a blocker.

"Almost all I did was block," says Clark, who caught a modest 20 passes last season. "I worked with the O-line most of the time in practice. If I had gone somewhere else, I might have been more one-dimensional."

The 49ers have employed finesse tight ends for years, but they are changing their offensive philosophy. "They really haven't had a blocker there, and it's limited what they can do," says Clark. "They want a tight end who can block and catch."

Clark might just be the player to do it.