January 5, 2005

Is the end in sight for Antonio Clay?

It's times like this that make you realize that making a decision for many of these high school football recruits might be the most single difficult thing that they have to do in their life.

After what has been one of the most turbulent recruiting stories to follow this recruiting season, could there truly be closure coming for Jeffersonville (Ga.) Twiggs County four-star outside linebacker Antonio Clay?

Wednesday morning there were reports that Clay had decided that he's heading to Oklahoma to play his college football, but reached just after midnight on Thursday morning, Clay said that he's not come up with a final decision yet.

"I'm not going to say anything official," Clay, who is 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, said. "I just need to think on it. It's a tough decision. It's the toughest thing that I've ever had to do. I can't really say what I'm going to do.

"I just need to think about it. I could have some news tomorrow, or I might wait things out even more. I'm just not ready to say that I'm committed one way or the other to anybody."

Clay did confirm that he had not called Oklahoma to commit as he said he was going to earlier today. He also said he had not met with any college coaches today, however, it was expected that he was going to meet with Clemson coach Tommy Bowden Wednesday afternoon.

The four-star linebacker also went on to say that he's not sure what teams he's even considering at this point and that all of the teams on his list - Florida State, Miami, Oklahoma, Clemson, Alabama and Georgia are still "on his mind."

Obviously the decision, whatever it is, is a gut-wrenching one.

Clay originally committed to Oklahoma earlier this summer after picking up an early scholarship offer from the Sooners. That pledge lasted just a few days as other programs began to enter the fray.

Then things began to turn toward Florida State and Miami in mid-December. Over the period of a week, Clay went back and forth between leaning toward the Noles and Canes and even reportedly making commitments to both schools several times during that process.

Over the last couple weeks things have calmed down a bit for Twiggs County standout.

After the dead period kicked in on December 20th he took part in the Georgia all-star game where he picked up four tackles and an interception. After that he got to spend some time with his family away from recruiting phone calls. That's when Florida State and Oklahoma began to emerge as his top two teams.

"It's Oklahoma and Florida State," Clay told Warchant.com.

"I really like both schools and I'm debating on whether I want to stay in the conference (ACC) and play the schools in the conference or should I go to the Big 12 and play the schools over there. But I want to play the schools in the ACC so that's why I really haven't picked Oklahoma."

Then there came reports earlier this week from both Clay and his high school coach that said he was going to take what would appear to be a sixth official visit to Alabama. Clay had previously taken official visits to Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida State, Miami and Georgia.

That was then followed up by the reports of his commitment to the Sooners on Wednesday, which were later retorted by his coach saying that he hadn't committed and he still had plans to visit Alabama this weekend.

So in the end, could there be something soon to finally end this crazy recruiting ride? Is Clay truly close to a final decision? Is he about to become a Sooner, a Cane, a Nole or none of the above?

"I might have something figured out by tomorrow," Clay said. "But I don't know if I will or not. This is too tough to figure out."

Only time will tell if this year's No. 1 recruiting roller coaster is about to come to the end of the line.



 

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