It’s no secret that Division-I football talent coming out of West Virginia isn’t as abundant as surrounding states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, let alone recruiting hotbeds like Florida and Texas.
So naturally, there’s more attention placed on the select few from the state who are good enough to make the cut at the next level. For the 2013 class, George Washington’s Ryan Switzer (North Carolina commit) and Spring Valley’s Elijah Wellman (WVU commit) have garnered most of that attention.
But this past week, it was another GW standout officially making a commitment to play at the D-I level – Patriots’ receiver/tight end Jordan Clay. A two-star prospect by Rivals.com, Clay pledged to play football for the Air Force Academy.
“I loved it,” Clay said of his recent visit to the campus in Colorado. “It was great and really nice, and the facilities and coaches are really great. I thought it was just a great opportunity and I couldn’t pass up on it.”
While he has invited walk-on offers from WVU and Marshall, along with a pending official visit at Charleston-Southern, Air Force was the right fit for Clay in the end.
It was Air Force tight ends coach Jake Moreland who brought Clay in with the Falcons. Initially, Moreland was with Western Michigan when he first received Clay’s recruiting highlights and information.
“He kept in contact with me and started calling me every week,” Clay said. “He finally got together with the coaching staff earlier this fall and they decided to offer me. About two weeks ago, they came in to visit me at school and then at my house.”
“I just want to thank everyone who has always been behind me, along with my parents and brother, of course. And I’m thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to be where I am.” – Jordan Clay
While Clay will be far away from home, the new challenges and surroundings make him eager.
“It’s far away from home, but it’s a great opportunity and will be a lot of fun. It’ll be great,” Clay said. “It’ll be good matching up against Boise State (now that they’re staying in the Mountain West). Anytime you can play on TV against a big school or well-known school it’s a great opportunity.”
Clay’s older brother, of course, is West Virginia’s Cody Clay. The older Clay molded into a significant run-blocking role with the Mountaineers in 2012, something Jordan Clay doesn’t necessarily see as his main focus with Air Force.
“He’s a lot bigger than I am, so Air Force will split me out more,” Clay said. “I’m more athletic than Cody is and he’s a lot stronger than I am, so we’re kind of in opposite boats in that sense. So, where he’s a better blocker than I am, I might be a better receiver and open field blocker than he is.”
With Jordan in Colorado and Cody in Morgantown, it sets up a lot of potential traveling for his family.
The Clay family had a good test-run of sorts last week as Cody was getting set to play in the Pinstripe Bowl with the Mountaineers and Jordan was participating in a high school all-star game, the Chesapeake Bowl.
“It was really great. I played on the South team, along with Spring Valley’s Elijah Wellman,” he said. “It was great seeing and meeting all of the D-I athletes that are going all over the place – Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Maryland – and just seeing how we matched up and how much alike we are.
“I used to think that D-I players were just on another level as me, but after getting to meet them, you realize they’re all just kids like we are and we’re all in the same boat,” Clay continued. “I was able to play a lot and it was a lot of fun and a great experience.”
Clay, meanwhile, finished his senior season at GW with 29 catches for 379 yards and four touchdowns as the Patriots fell just short of getting back to the state championship game in Wheeling.
“Our coaches got us there and we did all we could at the end of the season and it obviously just wasn’t enough,” Clay said. “But it was a great senior season and I had a great time at George Washington and couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
“I loved it. It was great and really nice, and the facilities and coaches are really great. I thought it was just a great opportunity and I couldn’t pass up on it.” – Jordan Clay on Air Force.
And as for his college future with Air Force? Clay couldn’t ask for much more either.
“I just want to thank everyone who has always been behind me, along with my parents and brother, of course,” he said. “And I’m thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to be where I am.”
An opportunity simply too good to pass up.