I just want to thank God for blessing me with this great opportunity pic.twitter.com/ntpyTw1tMT— Chad Clay™ (@TheReal_Chad4) May 18, 2015
Another day, another commitment for the Bulldog coaching staff, as Peachtree Ridge standout Chad Clay became the twelfth verbal pledge for 2016 this evening. Clay's commitment doesn't come as a huge surprise, as he's been a frequent presence in the Classic City this spring. Still, Georgia has been in a continuous search for big time cornerbacks to fit in Jeremy Pruitt's system, and getting the top corner in the state of Georgia to commit this early in the process is welcome news.
Clay is rated 4 stars by 247Sports, which also slots him as the #27 corner in the nation and the #22 player overall in the Peach State for the class of 2016. The 6'1, 180 pounder from Suwanee chose the Red and Black over offers from the likes of Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU, Nebraska, and Texas A&M. Clay's dad Willie Clay played collegiately at Georgia Tech (he still holds the school career interception record), but he recently made clear that Georgia's flagship status was a part of his decision process.
Let's take a look at what Clay brings to the table:
Jeremy Pruitt has been working overtime to find taller, more physical corners to fit his system since he arrived in Athens. Clay is that guy. He's at his best lining up in the receiver's face, using his size and physicality to disrupt routes. Clay seems less effective to me when he's forced to play off the line and drop into a true backpedal. Clay doesn't necessarily have the most fluid hips out there, and his top end speed is just alright.
But he finds the ball play after play. He's also not afraid to make a play on the ball, to take some risks. That's a nice starting point. I'd describe Clay as an instinctual corner, who reads and reacts well to the play. He's particularly effective in zone coverage, which allows him to break on the ball and make plays. When he gets there Clay also has excellent hands (note his receiving and punt return skills in this regard as well). I see Clay playing the star position in the UGA defense before eventually seeing action at field or boundary corner.
Clay has a tendency to leave his feet and dive/ankle tackle against the run, which is going to have to change at the next level. Shifty SEC tailbacks will make you look silly if you try to tackle them by diving at the shoelaces. But that's a teachable thing. Clay has the size and strength to be a more physical tackler.
While he won't be able to formalize his pledge for another eight months, Clay has already started recruiting fellows for the class.
@Hercules__52 thanks bruh . You're next— Chad Clay™ (@TheReal_Chad4) May 19, 2015
All in all, another great instate pickup for Mrk Richt and company.