Possesses good speed for his size, but isn't a guy who will be able to make plays vs. corners at the next level. Isn't a real gifted route runner either, more of a guy who wants to outrun you as opposed to set up his routes and cleanly get out of his breaks. Likes to let the ball into his frame and isn't the most polished of pluckers. Showcases some run after the catch ability. Has experience running between the tackles as a halfback. Lacks a great burst but has some natural power, runs hard and can stick his foot in the ground and laterally make a guy miss. However, isn't real shifty or dynamic and runs too upright, exposing too much of his legs through the hole.
Fails to impress as a blocker. Is at his best as a move guy where he can get around and seal opposing defenders from the ball. But lacks much physicality through contact, doesn't stay engaged for long and can be overwhelmed on contact. Really struggles as a lead guy as well. Gets too upright, doesn't have any kind of snap to his game and fails to extend his arms and use his hands to get into blocks.
Impression: An above-average athlete with some talent after the catch, but really fails to stack up as a blocker and looks nothing more than a low round/free agent type guy in the NFL who is limited to more of a pass-only H-back option."
He earned honorable-mention All-Conference USA accolades as a true freshman, starting 10 games, catching 69 passes for 1,024 yards and seven scores and rushing for 304 yards and another touchdown. His production dropped due to nagging injuries and fewer opportunities in his sophomore (38-464-1 receiving, 25-145-2 rushing) and junior seasons (39-530-5 receiving, 63-236-7 rushing) despite starting 20 of 26 games. Clay garnered honorable mention all-conference notice again as a senior. He was second on the team in receiving (43-526-7) and fifth in rushing (34-226).
Injuries and the speed of playmakers like Trae Johnson (no relation) might have taken opportunities from Clay, but his willingness to play special teams and block is a major plus. The biggest problem for scouts might be deciding on his role in the team's offense. If teams believe he can fit as an occasional runner and H-back, they will use a mid-to-late round pick to add him.
Strengths: Versatile player who lined up as an H-back, in-line, in motion, and as a tailback. Adequate release off the line to stretch the seam. Uses head fake and quick cuts to work the post. Not a dominant lead blocker, but will wall off one defender with an extended arm, then move to the next target. Difficult to bring down once past the line and carries defenders for a first down. Good hands, goes up over defenders and adjusts to low throws to get off-target passes. Provides a big target for passers to find as a safety valve. Gets ahead of quick receiver screens to take on defensive backs. Fair in-line blocker for his size and is a reliable pass protector. Stays square with a wide base. Outside protector on field goals; one of three second-level protectors on punt team. Quiet-mannered player.
Weaknesses: North-south runner who won't be a primary option because he runs with high pads, exposing his chest and torso to big hits from defenders, and does not have great vision inside or elusiveness in the open field. As a ballcarrier, he fails to shift ball to outside hand. Routes could be more crisp to create separation. Takes time to turn to head upfield after the catch. Needs to keep his head up and deliver a stronger punch to sustain more consistently when blocking, whether in space or in-line. Will miss inside targets on lead blocks. Injuries and uneven performances are red flags for teams."
Positive: Versatile college skill player with no true position at the next level. Catches the ball with his hands and effectively makes receptions in stride. Very quick transitioning from catching the ball to running after the reception. Displays strong hands, nicely adjusts to the errant throw, and can pull the fastball from the air. Displays a burst of speed carrying the ball. Gives effort blocking.
Negative: Displays marginal quickness. Not a strong blocker or one that finishes off defenders.
Analysis: Clay was productive in all facets of the game on the college level yet lacks the height to be a tight end and the size to be a true lead blocker. He has enough skill and versatility to make it as a backup fullback in a West Coast offense."
Negatives: Rather tall and may be a little too light to be a productive blocking back in NFL... Numbers could be a product of playing in a terrific offensive system... Already 24 years old... Not great in pass protection, will miss assignments... Doesn't have a set position right now, a bit of a tweener."
Strengths: Charles is a tackle-breaking machine. As stated, he's a powerful downhill runner. Likely to play FB at the next level, he's still capable of taking 80-100 carries per year. Prolific producer, scoring 31 total Touchdowns at Tulsa.
Weaknesses: Doesn't have a lot of 'wiggle.' He's a bruiser, and options are limited when he's in the backfield. Might be too predictable to be productive at the next level. Suspect speed and agility.
Projection: Projecting him at the 7th round. Fullback prospects are not in high demand, but he's among the top 5 in the nation. He's draws comparisons to a young Mike Alstott."
Clay has never been able to record numbers that impressive during the rest of his collegiate career, but he has always been involved in the passing and running games. Heading into his senior campaign, Clay had tallied 746 yards on the ground and 2,018 through the air. In 2010, Clay has added 164 more rushing yards and 455 more receiving yards.
The big question for Clay heading toward the NFL is which position he actually fits into. On some teams he could be a fullback who carries the ball a few times and works his way into the passing game. However, that situation would only work well for a handful of teams. Yet, by the fourth or fifth round, any NFL team should have Clay toward the top of their board."
He has some tightness in his hips and is not overly creative with the ball in his hands, but he adjusts very well to it above his head and can snatch it out of the air. Some teams employing West Coast offenses will consider him as a fullback, as he has the run skills to handle some hard carries."
Charles Clay is a Tweener, even for me, who has invented several NomenClatures to describe roles that are emerging in this Great Game.
He's listed as a Full Back.
Only problem is: he doesn't BLOCK.
Well, there's another problem: He's too tall ~ and runs too tall ~ to be an effective Runner for very long.
And he's no great shakes as a Receiver.
Wing End?? Maybe. He CAN Seal The Edge if you put him In Motion, and he CAN go Vertical. But his Navigation needs a LOT of work.
I probably will recategorize this guy as a Wing End, though I'll acknowledge the official "Full Back" for now: I had Rodney Hudson as a BUST at O Guard, but decided to move him to Center, where he's got considerable UpSide. Presumably, some GM who knows the Game GALAXIES better than me will see the same thing.
For now, I'm going to lay one of my new term on him, as a Full Back/Tight End Hybrid who's most dangerous lining up Wide: a Swing Back.
I'm going to label Clay as Over Rated, as he's currently the highest rated Full Back, and I see him as a sketchy Project...but if I move him to Wing End, later on...Hell, I'll STILL call him Over Rated, at his current 3rd - 4th Round projection!!
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