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WOELFEL WORLD OF SPORTS: Clay contemplates future

2011-01-06T13:35:00Z 2012-02-08T12:08:59Z WOELFEL WORLD OF SPORTS: Clay contemplates futureGERY WOEFEL gwoelfel@journaltimes.com Journal Times
January 06, 2011 1:35 pm  • 

Update: 10:25 a.m., Jan. 6 -  According to 620 WTMJ , John Clay, former Park High School standount, has decided to enter the NFL draft. The Journal Times will continue to update this story throughout the day.

John Clay figures to have a better idea about the future of his football career Friday.

Clay, the former Park High School running back, plans to meet with University of Wisconsin head football coach Bret Bielema in Madison.

Clay is in the process of determining whether to return to Wisconsin for his senior season or declare for the NFL draft.

"I'm going to meet with my coach tomorrow and we'll talk about the situation,'' Clay said. "And I'll talk to my family, my parents (Sara and John) and see what is the next best step for me.''

After having an exceptional sophomore season and being chosen the Big Ten Conference's Offensive Player of the Year, Clay underwent surgery on both of his ankles during the offseason.

Despite not being 100 percent healthy, Clay nevertheless played an integral role in helping the Badgers advance to the Rose Bowl, where they lost to Texas Christian 21-19 at Pasadena, Calif.

Clay rushed for 1,028 yards and 14 touchdowns in 11 games this season. He gained a team-high 104 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns in the Badgers' 31-18 victory over then top-ranked Ohio State on Oct. 16 at Camp Randall in Madison.

Clay, who has been relaxing in Racine the last few days, said making arguably the biggest decision of his life hasn't been easy.

"I have mixed feelings,'' Clay said. "I want to continue playing (at Wisconsin). It would be my senior year, my last year, and it would be special.

"But I also have to look at what's best for me and my family.''

Asked if he was leaning toward coming back to Wisconsin or going to the NFL, Clay said, "I'm right dead in the middle and that's what makes it (his decision) even harder.''

The deadline for underclassmen declaring for the NFL draft is Jan. 15.

Whatever Clay's decision, he has a treasure chest of fond memories as a Badger, not the least of which was the Rose Bowl.

While the Badgers didn't win "The Granddaddy of Them All,'' Clay said all the hoopla surrounding the event made it unforgettable.

"It was a great experience,'' Clay said. "It was a lot of fun being able to be part of such a great event.

"I had never been in California before and being in a whole, different atmosphere was interesting, too.

"The whole Rose Bowl experience was everything I expected and more.''

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