Ranking the Big Ten: John Clay, No. 9

March, 2, 2010
3/02/10
11:15
AM ET
The Big Ten postseason player rankings, based on past performance and future potential, continue with ...

No. 9

Clay
Clay
John Clay, RB, Wisconsin, So., 6-1, 248

Preseason rank: 16

Why he's here: Clay fell behind Zach Brown in camp and started the season a bit slow, but much like his team, he figured things out as the weeks went by. And for the rest of the Big Ten, it signaled major trouble. Clay steamrolled his way through opposing defenses, eclipsing 100 rushing yards in nine games, including each of his last six contests. He racked up 1,517 rushing yards, which led the Big Ten and ranked 12th nationally, and won Big Ten Offensive MVP honors. Clay also was a finalist for the Silver Football award.

At nearly 250 pounds, Clay is one of the nation's most powerful running backs. He'll enter 2010 as a Heisman Trophy candidate and a good bet to turn pro after the season. He needs to perform better against the Big Ten's best after being held to fewer than 100 rushing yards against both Ohio State and Iowa. But Clay will have every chance to improve on his 2009 performance, as he'll work behind a veteran offensive line and alongside a quarterback in Scott Tolzien who provides balance in the offense. Expect Clay to be much higher in the 2010 preseason rankings.

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