Incoming Utah Utes Football Players to Watch: Kaelin Clay

Dres Anderson should be getting some serious help with the addition of JC transfer Kaelin Clay. - Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013 the wide receivers were essentially a one man band with Dres Anderson. The 2014 season will hinge on Anderson getting some help, and incoming senior Kaelin Clay may be able to help balance the offense.

Dres Anderson had a total of 1,002 yards in 2013. Anderson was the first receiver for Utah to break the 1,000 yard club. The problem is that the team had a total of 2,835 yards receiving. Dres accounted for 35% of the receiving yardsUtah had on the season and is the Pac-12's leading returning receiver in terms of yards per game (83.5). The third and fourth players with the most receiving yards were Bubba Poole, a running back, and Jake Murphy, a tight end. In a nut shell, the Utes need to improve wide receiver production in 2014. The return of Kenneth Scott is one vital piece of the puzzle; however, Kaelin Clay can be a massive addition to the wide receiving corps, giving a huge upgrade in speed.

Clay signed with the U last year out of Mount San Antonio College. He was a 2013 first-team all-conference receiver and preseason JUCO All America. Clay also led the SCFA Central Conference with 995 receiving yards, 90.5 yards per game,  and 16 touchdowns. For his career he pulled in 90 passes for 1,654 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Clay actually signed with Cal out of high school, not unlike fellow incoming JC transfer Tevin Carter. Both Tevin Carter and Clay are one-to-play-one transfers, but unlike Carter who actually signed with Utah a year ago, Clay was recruited this past year to come and contribute immediately. He was actually pushing to break into the two deep after his first spring ball in Berkley, along with Tevin Carter (who was actually a receiver before moving to safety).

Here is what Cal Goldenblogs wrote up on both Clay and Carter back in the spring of 2011.

Wide Receiver:

Biggest News: Tevin Carter decides to quit the team. He has not asked for a release to transfer. It's likely that he would have been in the top 5 and vying for playing time this year.

Top Performers: Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones are locks as starters. Michael Calvin and Kaelin Clay have had strong springs and are are next on the depth chart.

Coaches and people around the program have actually stated that Kaelin Clay may be the fastest Utes footballer to ever lace up. That's a lofty claim with a program that has had players that have clocked 4.2 and 4.1 40-yard dashes. Nonetheless, that kind of speed is a very welcome and needed upgrade, especially considering that last years number two receiver, Sean Fitzgerald, ran between a 4.5 and 4.6 40-yard dash, and number three receiver Anthony Denham, who has signed as a tight end with the Houston Texans, ran a 4.7 at the combine. That's not exactly the speed you want on the outside, especially in the Pac-12.

Clay, with his speed, could easily slide into the slot and be a matchup nightmare for any linebacker in the Pac-12 conference. With the addition of new offensive coordinator Dave Christensen and his high-speed, precision offense, a speedy wide out like Clay can be an incredible threat, especially late in the game when the defense starts to wear down.

The trio of Anderson, Scott, and Clay will give Utah a much needed upgraded and a potentially formidable receiving corps. As long as Utah has a quarterback who can stay upright, he will have plenty of talented pass catchers to throw to, and fans should expect to see more than just Dres putting up some good receiving numbers.


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