MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – While the West Virginia Mountaineers rarely look to the tight end position for production due to a stacked offense at wide receiver and running back, they possess a priceless presence there in 6-foot-4 redshirt senior Cody Clay.
A West Virginia native, Clay began his football journey at George Washington High School in Charleston. As a finalist for the Hunt Award, given to the best lineman in the state of West Virginia, the Mountaineers knew they had found a jewel in the 2011 recruiting class.
Now as a redshirt senior, Clay holds a special leadership role in Dana Holgorsen’s offense. Perhaps some of Clay’s best attributes are how well he understands the offense and the ability to influence his teammates. Speaking to media members earlier this month, Clay boasted about the talent within his team.
“I think Jovon’s (Durante) first catch was a touchdown, so that has to be huge for him,” said Clay. “And I know Shelton (Gibson), he’s been, I’ve never seen him like he was Saturday night (Sept. 5 when he caught his first touchdown pass against Georgia Southern) so that’s huge for him and huge for us as an offense knowing that we can depend on them.”
As far as the 2015-16 season goes, Clay says the Mountaineer offense will mostly gather around those young receivers (Durante and Gibson) in hopes of replacing the backbone of last year’s offense, Kevin White and Mario Alford.
“I’m a little jealous about that. It’s something I definitely don’t have,” Clay joked, regarding the speed and quickness of his teammates. “It’s something that we need and something that we lost last year with Mario (Alford) and then Kevin (White) was just as fast as him, so we needed that. I’m glad to see that we still have it.”
Throughout his collegiate career, Clay has grabbed 18 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown. He’s also proven to be one of the most versatile big men on West Virginia’s offense, having played multiple positions including tight end, fullback, wide receiver, and even a little center.
Although he hasn’t made much noise on the field yet this season, Clay had the honor of carrying the West Virginia state flag onto the field prior to the Liberty matchup. This tradition was started by another valuable redshirt senior, Jared Barber.
The Mountaineers shutout Georgia Southern 44-0 and defeated Liberty 41-17 giving them a 2-0 record heading into their most anticipated non-conference game of the season. The Maryland Terrapins will conclude West Virginia’s non-conference schedule on Sept. 26 as they visit Milan Puskar Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS