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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Ranking the Big Ten: John Clay, No. 16

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

After a brief break, the rundown of the Big Ten's top 30 players continues with ...

No. 16

John Clay, RB, Wisconsin, So., 6-2, 247

 Clay

Why he's here -- Nothing against P.J. Hill, who turned in a solid career at Wisconsin, but it was hard not to focus on Clay last fall. There simply aren't many young college running backs who look like him. Blessed with excellent size and a ferocious running style, Clay shows all the signs of being an elite running back in the Big Ten.

He averaged 5.7 yards a carry and rushed for 884 yards and nine touchdowns as Hill's backup in 2008. With Hill leaving early for the NFL, Clay moves into a featured role in an offense built around the run game. He should have a better grasp of his assignments on offense after going through a full season.

Weight remains a concern for Clay, who got too big at times last fall and would be most effective between 235-240 pounds. If he can trim down a bit and limit the pressure on his ankles, Clay could push Penn State's Evan Royster in the race to be the league's top back.

The Rundown