It's easy to see why Kade Clayton is getting some initial interest from some bigger programs. He has the athletic traits that you like to have in a slot receiver, standing 6-foot tall and showing the fluidity to bend and move. He already has some thickness as well, as evidenced by his defensive position: middle linebacker.
His feet in-and-out of breaks are smooth, and he showcases the athleticism indicated by the fact that he's a state champion in the 110-meter hurdles. On one play, he caught a pass over the middle and split both safeties with his initial acceleration.
Clayton displayed excellent hands in the first game that I saw him, plucking the ball from the air naturally. But in the second game, he had a drop or two. I tallied that up more to concentration than anything else … Clayton is explosive enough after the catch that he can take his eyes off the ball just before it hits his hands at times.
For how dangerous he is, Clayton didn't appear to be hugely elusive, instead being the type of player who catches the ball and just turns upfield with his speed. He's more of a one-cut guy than somebody who's going to dance past people.At the same time, he does display some other slot qualities, like the ability to sit down in zone coverage. For a former running back, Clayton has more understanding of how to play receiver than you would think. He gets separation off his breaks like a player who has been at receiver for a longer time, and he has football IQ for the position.
It's unclear at this point whether Clayton will emerge as an Oklahoma-type target (he attended an OU camp and played well there), and his junior year will go a long way toward answering that question. But he certainly appears to be a BCS-level recruit at this point, and if he grows an inch or two — his dad is 6-3 — it could push him up even higher. If that happens, and he fills out a bit more, safety isn't out of the question, either.