RECRUITING: OU leads for Georgia LB?

Jeffersonville, Ga. linebacker/defensive end Antonio Clay is beginning to get offers from the best. Clay talks about his favorites and interest in the Sooners.


It's a year where the state of Georgia is loaded with tremendous linebackers, and one of the very best is Antonio Clay.

Ranked one of the top linebacker/defensive end types in the state, Clay currently plays linebacker but many collegiate coaches feel he will grow into a defensive end.

"Actually I will play any position and that is the truth," said Clay. "I think I am a linebacker, but I will play strong safety if that is where they want me to play. I am a team guy and will also do whatever it takes to help the team."

Clay started at defensive end his freshman year, but was undersized for the position that year. His sophomore year he went both ways at linebacker and tight end and did the same at those two positions that he played last year. But his role on offense expanded as he moved out to the slot on many occasions. Last season Clay finished with 101 tackles with 76 solos, 14 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception and he scored three touchdowns on defense.

"I picked up the two fumbles and returned them for touchdowns (60, 40)," said Clay. "The one pass I picked off I returned it about 60 yards."

Clay can bench 350 pounds, squats 500 and he posted a 36 1/2 vertical jump at the Nike camp at Georgia Tech. Clay wrestles at 205 and went 20-1 losing his very first match of the season. Jeffersonville didn't have the money to send the team to the regional tournament so Clay didn't get a chance to win a state title. In track Clay ran the 300 high hurdles (42.6) and he qualified for the state title. Clay pulled a groin at the NIKE football camp and couldn't participate in the state championships.

Clay has been offered by ten schools at this point and he has not committed to OU, but he is a strong lean at this time.

"I told the Oklahoma coach (Bo Pelini) that I wanted to take some other visits and he said that he understood," said Clay. "I wanted to commit to OU when he offered me just because the football program is so good, but I know I want to take some visits and again Coach Pelini understands that. I am a strong lean to Oklahoma, but I want to wait and take some visits and make sure if I am making the right decision.

"I didn't want to mislead anybody, but I didn't understand the process. I didn't know if you committed to somebody that you couldn't take visits. I really like Oklahoma, but I have never seen the campus or even been to Oklahoma. I want to see what the town is like, because I know about their great football program.

My top five would Oklahoma, Miami, LSU, Clemson and Maryland. LSU and Miami have not offered me yet, but LSU says they are very close to offering me. Florida State is also coming by this week."

Clay admits that Miami has been his favorite school growing up.

"Miami was my childhood favorite. Before Oklahoma got into the picture I would say that if they offered me that I would go to Miami," said Clay. "Now that Oklahoma is in the picture I can't say I would go to Miami. The distance factor would be a plus for Miami, because I have family in Miami and I had a cousin Joey Coley that played at Miami. It is a little closer to home and my family could see me play.

"Oklahoma made a great impression on me and is a tremendous football program and a great school. Right now I am a lean to OU, but I think Miami is going to offer me. But even if they do I am still going to take my visits. Oklahoma and Miami would definitely be two of the schools that I visit."

Clay has already qualified.

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