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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Clay Johnston, LB, Baylor University

Clay Johnston the veteran LB from Baylor University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds very own Jonathan Joyce.

Student-Athlete Profile:

  • Clay Johnston
  • Baylor University
  • LB
  • 6’1”
  • 232lbs.
  • Hometown: Abilene, TX
  • Twitter: @Clay_Johnston44

2018 Accolades & Statistics:
  • 2018 All-Big 12 Football Second Team.
  • GP: 12
  • Total Tackles: 99
  • TFL: 5.5
  • Sacks: 1.0
via GM6ix Productions (YouTube)

You’re one of four brothers (Kody, Kole, Cade). Kody played football at Texas A&M and Kole at Tarleton State. What was the sibling rivalry like growing up?

Sibling relationship was awesome, we would always rough each other up and get into fights, nothing serious maybe some bruises and bumps here and there. We always pushed each other just to outwork everybody. Kody loved football, but Kole did not enjoy it as much, he did not like the amount of work it required. We always just competed with whatever we were doing, if it was boxing, a simple game of basketball, or rock paper scissors. We will compete until the grave!

Your father Kent was an NFL strength coach for 24 years. Was the gym a normal part of your childhood?

My father is a very God-fearing man, he never would push lifting or even the sport on his sons, he would try to honor the Lord with whatever he was doing, I eventually asked my dad to guide me in the weight room when I hit the later years of my high school time, because that was when I wanted to compete at the college level and try to earn a scholarship somewhere. I did not care where, I just wanted to help my mom and dad out financially. Don’t get me wrong though, I love to grind in the weight room, that is where I spend most of my time now, there in the weight room or on the field.

As an athlete, what is your motivation?

My motivation is simply to honor the Lord with whatever I do. If he gives me the ability to play football I want to glorify him with that ability. The game I play could end tomorrow or 10 years from now, but I believe the Lord has me in the locker room for a purpose, and that is to lead and exemplify the character of Jesus Christ. I also want to win for my brothers in the locker room, I get so close to all those guys it is pretty much family in that area, a big drive for me is winning for my brothers in the locker room and the coaches, simply because you just get close with those guys and it becomes family. But the foundational stone of my motivation is doing everything to the best of my ability because that is what the Lord has commanded me to do.

via @Clay_Johnston44 (Twitter)

What defines success for you?

Success to me is walking in humility and growing more like Jesus, I know the world portrays money and attaining more and more as a success, but that will all fade away soon. Life is about relationships with the people you meet, and I want to do everything as hard as I possibly can, especially football. Honestly, I would give every dollar I own to win the Big XII Championship, and I can say that with a clear conscience. I have one more year to and it would be awesome to see Baylor turn around and get back to when we were dominant, especially with all the drama that happened a couple of years ago that everyone on our team now has no association with. I just want to win.

What would your teammates say about the type of teammate you are?

I believe my teammates would say I am a psycho and very weird, I will play until I knock myself out on the field because I love it. I am very different from most players, I don’t listen to rap, I just listen to soundtrack music from movies and I also don’t drink and party too much like most collegiate athletes I know of. I believe they would say I am the leader of the team and the best player on our defense. They would say I joke around a lot, but when it’s time to get serious, I get serious and don’t play games in that scenario. I just want to win, and they know that. I know they see me put more work in the weight room, film room, and field-work, and they would vouch for me. They would just say I can’t stand to lose, and I’ll go down fighting and bleeding before that would happen.

What are some of your personal “rules” that you never break?

Work at least 6 days of the week, whether that is physical or mental in relation to football, physically work at least 5 times a week. Be obsessed with the film room, you can never learn enough in the film room, in relation to studying your opponents or seeing little areas you can improve on with technique. Just outwork anybody you meet. Learn from people that have done it longer than you, when I was a freshman all I did was pick the brains of the veterans to learn everything, and I still am learning everything, that won’t change till I die.

via @BUFootball (Twitter)

Who is the toughest player you’ve competed against during your collegiate career?

The toughest player is the center on our football team, Sam Tecklenburg, I do not believe there is anyone tougher than him in the Big XII aside from myself, he is mentally and physically tough compared to most, he has the most respect from me compared to any other teammate. I believe mental toughness is “doing what you’re told,” and he is beyond mentally tough. The best player I competed against was Kyler Murray, I didn’t even tackle him that game, that week of practice I sprained my MCL and I sucked for a week or so.

Who is the best player in the NFL?

Tom Brady.

What is your team of choice on Madden, why?

I do not play video games, if I do, I play a little Super Smash Brothers. (Game for Nintendo).

via @BUFootball (Twitter)

Failure is inevitable in life. How do you handle situations that don’t go in your favor?

I get up off my ass and try again. You have to keep fighting, we have to many soft people now a days that accept everything. Hard work pays off, simple quote that is true. Just like people that choose not to play with pain in football, I get there is a point where you might have to rest completely, but football is a sport where you are required to play with pain.

Is there a current/former NFL player that you model your game after?

I love watching Luke Kuechly, I know LBs in the NFL have some baller defensive linemen in front of them, I’d give anything to have a chance to play behind some of them and see what it feels like. Aside from that point, I just love watching Luke play and get the defense set up and audible them. He’s a baller, I would love to learn from him.

Knowing what you do now, what would you go back and tell yourself as a High-School Freshman?

Nothing really, I would just have told him to get in the weight room a little earlier, take it a day at a time and enjoy it.

via @ClayJohnston44 (Twitter)

What is your go-to restaurant near campus?

Chipotle or Panda Express

If your life was a book, what would its title be?

“The Life of Clay Johnston.”

What song or artist do you like but rarely admit to liking?

I listen to movie soundtracks, such as the Gladiator movie, Transformers, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Braveheart, Last of the Mohicans, etc. If I listen to music with words its rock and roll so Id say ZZ Top.

via @PFDZ44 (Twitter)

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would it be and why?

Obviously I would say Jesus because he is the Son of God and I would love to eat and be in his presence even though it might kill me because he is so holy, but I will have dinner with him one day, so I would say my grandfather who passed away, I miss him.

Forty-years from now, what do you want to be remembered for?

A man who became more humble and did not care about the meaningless things in life, such as material wealth and monetary things. I care about Faith, Family, and Football. I just want to be remembered as a God-fearing man.

In 15 words or less, why should an NFL team invest in you?

I will trust the team’s process and outwork everyone in the facility, and I ball.

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