J.K. Jay Stays Loyal to the Tigers

by - Senior Writer -

You might say that Clemson recruit and current Christ Church offensive lineman J.K. Jay has been destined to be a Tiger since he was in the womb.

Jay, the 6-foot-7, 280-pounder for the Cavaliers, committed to the Tigers prior to his junior season, is currently ranked as the 13th-best offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN (15th by Rivals) and said he has been a Tiger his entire life.

"My mom did not miss a game when she was pregnant with me, and I can't remember missing a home game since then," Jay said. "I grew up loving the atmosphere, and the family feeling. Clemson is family to me.

Playing at Clemson is more than just playing for a college team, it is playing for my family and friends. Growing up, it was my childhood dream to walk on, and maybe get a chance to run down the hill, and to get an offer from them is humbling. It gives me chills."

Jay said that Tommy Bowden's recent resignation as head coach has not really changed his mind about playing for the Tigers, saying that his relationship with the coaches goes deeper than words.

"I gave my word to Coach (offensive line coach Brad) Scott, and he has been there for me, like a second dad to me," Jay said. "I want nothing more than to see Coach Swinney keep the job, and keep the staff in place. Coach Scott treats me like a son, and gives advice, not only about football, but my daily life and my walk with Christ."

Jay said that the Bowden resignation did catch him a little off-guard, and said that if a new head coach were to be appointed at the end of the season, he would re-evaluate at that time, but not before.

"I love Clemson, and I love everything about it," Jay said. "I have a lot of great friends on the team. But if that was to happen, and they bring in another coach I don't know, that doesn't mean my scholarship is guaranteed. I would just have to re-evaluate and go from there."

Jay is a physical presence, who runs a 4.78 40-yard dash, has a 33-inch vertical leap, and has a 400-pound bench press, with a 3.4 GPA in the classroom.

Jay said that he feels like he is a better pass blocker than a run blocker at this point, but leaves no doubt what he likes best.

"I think I really excel in pass blocking, but run blocking is my passion," Jay said. "I love to maul people, and love hitting people. I don't like sitting back in pass protection as much as like attacking someone else."

Which means he really loves when he can complete a pancake block, the act of knocking a defender down.

"That's the best feeling in the world," Jay said. "It means I have worked hard all summer, and all year really, and that my hard work is paying off. That is man-to-man combat, and I like seeing who worked the hardest. But really, the W or the L is more important to me than any personal stats."

Jay said that if he does indeed come to Clemson, his plan would be to play as early as possible.

"I am going in there with the thought that I am coming up there to play right away," Jay said. "I want to play and start as soon as I can. I don't want to redshirt or take a year off. I know there is a big difference between college and high school, but it all depends on my heart."

In other news, on Monday Clemson lost its fourth commitment since the departure of Tommy Bowden when running back Ben Axon from Bradenton, FL switched his commitment from the Tigers to South Carolina.

2009 Football Commitments (8)

NAME               POS HT   WT  40   ESPN Rnk  City                   School                     
Quandon Christian  LB  6-3  205 4.5  OLB #23   Lake View, SC          Lake View HS               
Eric Fields        LB  6-1  205 4.5  OLB #4    Warner Robins, GA      Northside HS               
Malliciah Goodman  DE  6-4  260 4.5  DE  #9    Florence, SC West      Florence HS                
Corico Hawkins     LB  6-0  218 4.5  ILB #9    Milledgeville, GA      Baldwin HS                 
J.K. Jay           OL  6-6  275 4.7  OT  #13   Greenville, SC         Christ Church Episcopal HS 
Roderick McDowell  RB  5-10 175 4.4  RB  #24   Sumter, SC             Sunter HS                  
Tyler Shatley      TE  6-3  255 4.7  TE  #17   Connellys Springs, NC  East Burke HS              
Brandon Thomas     OL  6-4  280 4.7  OG  #61   Spartanburg, SC        Dorman HS                  

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