Clay is Ready to Step Up at Poly

Kaelin Clay isn't very well known, mostly because the 5-10, 175-pound receiver/defensive back has had to wait his turn in the loaded Long Beach Poly program. But the speedy Clay is ready to have a break-out season, and some college coaches are recruiting him in anticipation...

Long Beach (Calif.) Poly receiver Kaelin Clay (5-10, 175) knows that playing for the Jackrabbits is a great way to get exposure. He also knows it often means waiting your turn to be recruited, sometimes into your senior year.

Clay has three offers going into his final season of high school, from Utah State, Portland State and Northern Arizona, but he knows that a big senior season could open up more doors.

"The competition is so heavy at Poly that you're behind pretty good players your first couple of years," said Clay. "Then your senior year comes and you get to show your ability. So I believe that more offers will come."

Clay had a strong junior campaign, but track kept him from attending many camps or combines during the spring. The speedy Clay has offers to play receiver, but he's more than fine with playing defense.

"All the schools that have offered have been as a receiver," said Clay. "But I'm willing to play corner or safety. I probably like corner better if I had to play defense."

Clay said a host of schools are showing interest in him.

"UCLA, they are showing a lot of interest right now and I get a lot of letters from Tennessee," said Clay. "I'm also hearing from UNLV, a lot of the Pac-10, Florida State, Utah and USC, they send letters."

Clay has a top five.

"In order, it would be UCLA first, then Utah, then Oregon, then Utah State and then Arizona State," said Clay.

Clay has a pair of Poly teammates headed to Westwood this fall, Iuta Tepa and Stan McKay, and he talks often with McKay about following him up the 405.

"Reggie Moore is the coach recruiting me and I've been talking to Stan and he said they need receivers and some big-play people, and I feel that's what I am," said Clay.

Clay is hopeful his senior season can show his versatility.

"Because of track, I didn't get to show a lot of ability, and last year, I would usually just go deep, so not going to the camps didn't help me show what I can do," said Clay. "I just need someone to throw me the ball. I believe I can do it all. A lot of people tell me I'm too small or not strong enough. But I know how I play. I know what I'm capable of doing."

Clay said track is an option for him in college, but only in addition, not in lieu of, football.

"I wouldn't mind doing track in college. I do the 100m, 200m, 4x100 and 4x400," said Clay. "But I'm a football guy and I just want to go and play and get an education."

Poly lost a lot of talent, including their quarterback, Morgan Fennell, from the CIF-SS Pac-5 team that lost in the State Open Division Title game to Sacramento Grant, despite Clay's four catches for 97 yards and a score. But he's confident in his squad heading into 2009.

"I believe our quarterbacks will get it done," said Clay. "We have pretty good quarterbacks. The maturity level of the team and coaches just needs to continue to improve and I'm hopeful for a big year where the fans can count on me."

Academically, Clay has a 3.0 GPA and will take the SAT in the spring.

As a junior, he finished the season with 20 catches for 502 yards and six scores.

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