Who Is...John Clay?

Adam LindemerSenior Analyst INovember 23, 2008

I guess you could call this my second installment of "Who is?", as I did one previously on Brewers backup catcher Mike Rivera. I apologize for no picture of Clay, as I'm having trouble uploading photos on here.

But enough of that, let's get to it.

John Clay is the second string running back for the Wisconsin Badgers, behind P.J. Hill who gained over 1,000 yards for the third-straight season this year.

Even though he is the backup, Clay, at 6-2 and a nothing but muscle 240 lbs., is definitely the more powerful back for the Badgers.

I like to compare the two as; P.J. has the the power to run through defenders, but Clay will down right run over you.

P.J. will move the pile by constantly moving his legs, but Clay will run over that pile and make his own lane.

John Clay gained 845 yards on 144 carries this year, which is 5.9 yards/carry. If you give the ball to Clay twice, you have a first down, and I guarantee you, he breaks one of those for 20+.

I'm amazed whenever I see him run, the sheer power he has, and the ability to see the lanes. He is the epitome of running backs in college football, hell, the NFL; a perfect fit in that Badger offense.

He just needed to learn to put his studies first; after all they are called STUDENT-athletes.

Clay is a sophomore, but has freshmen eligibility, due to the fact he red-shirted last year for academic struggles. If he can keep those grades in check, Clay will be a nightmare for Big Ten defenses for the next couple of years.

This power running is nothing new for Clay either, as he racked up huge stats at Racine Park High School (in southeast Wisconsin).

He received four letters for football and three more in track and field. He was a two-time Wisconsin State finalist in the 4x100 (so he has speed too).

As a sophomore at Park, Clay gained 1,490 yards and 15 TDs, but followed that up with an amazing junior year. He rushed for 2,032 yards on just 162 carries; do the math, 12.5 yards/carry. Clay also had 30 TD as a junior, and led his team to the WIAA State title in Division I that year.

At that title game, Clay rushed 19 times for 259 yards (team had 306 total), with 3 TD, one was for 65 yards, and another for 70. That 259 yards on the ground is a state record in D-I.

He closed out his HS career with 1,485 yards on 170 touches and 15 more scores; 8.7 yards/carry. He finished with 509 carries for 5,005 yards and 58 TD; 9.8 yards/carry.

So, in the next few years that he dons the "W" on his helmet, all head coach Bret Bielema needs to do is get the ball to Clay, he'll make a smart man out of you.

This is a warning to the rest of the Big Ten, as well as the nation; you know who John Clay is now...all you need to do is make sure he doesn't run over YOU.


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