Antonio Clay Talks Signing Day

Antonio Clay talks about some of the events that led him to his decision to come to Clemson, instead of Oklahoma. <BR>

It was only a week ago that Antonio Clay had a big decision in front of him.

Clemson or Oklahoma?

Oklahoma or Clemson?

While many people thought that he was still making up his mind on National Signing Day, Clay told in a recent interview that he actually had made his final decision just a few days before.

"I made the decision about four days before signing day," Clay said.

"I just talked to my coaching staff. I talked with Coach Copeland a lot and he gave me some good advice about all the schools. He didn't try to lean to any school. He gave me his opinion of Clemson, and that was it."

Signing day rumors had the four-star linebacker seriously reconsidering his late commitment to Clemson, but according to Clay, that is not entirely correct.

"No it's not really. We were actually just waiting for the press (on signing day). The press was at another school up the road. I did end up talking the decision over again with my family as we were waiting. But that was about it," said Clay.

"I know everybody at Clemson was sweating bullets. But they were pretty happy after I signed. They would have had a great program whether I came or not. They would have been happy regardless. I was just the icing on the cake you could say," added Clay.

Interestly enough, Clay did not inform Oklahoma about his intentions until signing day, even though he remained verbally committed to the Sooners.

"I waited to tell them until after I signed basically. That was real hard," said the four-star linebacker.

Of course, throughout the recruiting process, several other Clemson commitments continued to work hard on Clay to try and convince him to come to Tiger Town. "Ray Ray was one of them. We talked a good bit," Clay said.

"I also talked to James Davis a little bit. When Coach Bowden came down to see me a few days before signing day, James called me that same day. Hopefully I can room with one of them when I get there."

While the phone calls from his friends certainly helped, it was coach Tommy Bowden himself that really made the difference down the stretch.

"It really was. Coach Bowden showed me the plans they had for me. He told me how much it would mean if I would come to Clemson. That meant a lot," said Clay.

And now, with recruiting behind him, Antonio has already started looking ahead to his college football career.

"Yeah, I am going to Clemson on June 28. I'm going to get in that weight room and run with the boys.

"Right now, I'm working with my linebacker Coach Williams and Coach Copeland. Coach Copeland coached All-American linebacker LeRoy Hill during his high school career. It's real intense. It's hard running. They have me on a workout plan."

Clemson fans will be glad to hear that Antonio plans to be even better than Coach Copeland's other former linebacker.

"I think I'm better than Leroy," said Clay. "And my goal is to go in there and prove it. I need to prove myself to the coaching staff at Clemson. I am aiming for a spot in that lineup early. I want to get on the field and make an impact next year."

Clay has not been sporting any new Clemson gear yet, but that should change this weekend. "Not yet, but I will make sure I get some. I'm coming up to South Carolina on the 12th so I will get some then. I can't wait.

"It feels real good. All the pressure if off now. I feel pretty good about my decision."

We will continue to keep you updated on this future Tiger linebacker, right up through his first practice in August. Top Stories