John Clay (running back)

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John Clay
refer to caption
Clay in the 2011 NFL season.
No. 38
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: (1988-01-04) January 4, 1988 (age 30)
Racine, Wisconsin
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 255 lb (116 kg)
Career information
High school: Racine (WI) Washington Park
College: Wisconsin
Undrafted: 2011
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts: 10
Rushing yards: 41
Rushing average: 4.1
Rushing touchdowns: 1
Player stats at

John Clay (born January 4, 1988) is a former American football running back. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He played college football for the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In high school, he received numerous awards for his accomplishments on the field at Washington Park High School in Racine, Wisconsin, and was one of the most heavily recruited players in the country. Clay was ruled ineligible to play by the NCAA after not meeting Wisconsin admission requirements before being ruled eligible for the 2008 season.

High school[edit]

Clay attended Washington Park High School in Racine, Wisconsin. He was named a high school All-American in 2006 and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game. A 4-star recruit,[1] he committed to Wisconsin on national signing day after declining offers from Tennessee, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Iowa.[1]

After graduating from high school and before the start of summer football camp, Clay was notified by the NCAA that his grades had not met the requirements to play collegiate football. He had recorded a 2.7 core GPA and received a 17 on his ACT.[1] Clay attended summer school to complete the required course work, then rejoined his teammates and began practicing with the Badgers. His late start forced him to redshirt in 2007.


College career[edit]

As a redshirt freshman in 2008, Clay saw his first action on the field against the University of Akron, where he posted 71 yards and his first collegiate touchdown on just 12 carries. He finished the season second on the team and seventh in the Big Ten Conference in rushing with 884 yards on 155 carries and nine touchdowns.

In 2009, Clay led the Big Ten and ranked eighth in the country with 1,517 rushing yards. His 18 rushing touchdowns also led the Big Ten and tied for seventh in the nation. On November 23, 2009, Clay was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, the third Badgers' player to be so named Big Ten, joining fellow running backs Ron Dayne (1999) and Brent Moss (1993).

Clay was on the cover of the December 11, 2009 edition of Sports Illustrated, an issue that featured the best sports photos of 2009. The picture was taken during the Michigan game at Camp Randall Stadium.

Clay entered the 2010 football season on the preseason watch lists for the Doak Walker Award, the Walter Camp Award, and the Maxwell Award. He was selected as a Playboy All-American. An MCL injury sidelined Clay for the last three 2010 regular season games, damaging his chances at the Heisman. Clay was named one of three finalists for the 2010 Doak Walker Award, which is given annually to the nation's top running back. The other two finalists were Kendall Hunter of Oklahoma State and the winner of the award, LaMichael James of Oregon.

For the 2010 season, Clay finished with 1,012 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.


Year Team Attempts Yards Average Long TDs
2008 Wisconsin 155 884 5.7 46 9
2009 Wisconsin 277 1,517 5.5 72 18
2010 Wisconsin 187 1,012 5.4 40 14
College Totals 619 3,413 5.5 72 41


Professional career[edit]

On January 7, 2011, Clay announced he would forgo his senior season to enter the 2011 NFL Draft.[3]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad Wonderlic
6 ft 1 in
(1.85 m)
250 lb
(113 kg)
31 in
(0.79 m)
8 34 in
(0.22 m)
4.77 s 29 in
(0.74 m)
All values from NFL Combine[5]

Clay went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Clay was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent on July 26, 2011.[6] He waived for final cuts on September 2, 2011 but was re-signed two days later to the practice squad. On December 23, 2011, he was added to the team's active roster. He scored his first touchdown on his first carry in the NFL on December 24, 2011, a 10-yard score.[7]

Clay was waived/injured on August 14, 2012,[8] but subsequently reverted to injured reserve on August 16. He was given an injury settlement and released from injured reserve on August 20.[9]


  1. ^ a b c " John Clay Profile". Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  2. ^ "John Clay Stats". Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  3. ^ "Badgers' RB Clay will test NFL waters". Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  4. ^ McGinn, Bob (April 16, 2011). "State NFL draft prospects". Archived from the original on April 20, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018. 
  5. ^ Clay NFL Combine
  6. ^ Vukovcan, Mike (July 26, 2011). "Steelers Sign Undrafted Free Agents". Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  7. ^ "Clay scores first NFL touchdown". December 24, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Steelers place Clay on waived/injured list". August 14, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  9. ^ Bryan, Dave (August 21, 2012). "Steelers Release John Clay After Reaching Injury Settlement". Retrieved June 6, 2018. 

External links[edit]