Baylor Wide Receiver Ready For Challenge

Baylor Wide Receiver Ready For Challenge

With the loss of Baylor star senior wideout Tevin Reese, the Bears will look to a number of players to fill the void. One of those players is third year wide receiver Clay Fuller.

One summer night in July of 2011, Clay Fuller, then a Double-A prospect with the Anaheim Angels organization, decided he was done with the lifestyle of a minor league ball player. He told the team and the organization he was retiring, and let them know that it would be his final day playing organized baseball.

Fuller hung out in the dugout for his final day as an Arkansas Traveler, one of the teams that saw him hit .252 with 41 home runs in his 6 seasons with the organization. With the game out of reach, and his final good-byes being said, Fuller got one last chance for his pro baseball curtain call. He was called to the plate to pinch-hit. Fuller grabbed his bat and knew, just like he had for the past 6 seasons, that every time his number was called, he had a chance to do something special. Fuller, knowing already that he would be headed to Baylor University to play football that fall for Head Coach Art Briles, made the most of his opportunity. In his last pro at-bat, Fuller knocked it out of the park, circled the bases, and hung up his cleats.

His baseball cleats that is.

Fuller was recruited out of high school to play football by Art Briles when Briles was the head coach at the University of Houston. When Fuller decided to go the pro baseball route, Briles told Fuller to give him a call if he ever wanted a shot on the football field. When Fuller made the decision to call it quits on the dream of reaching the major leagues, Briles lived up to his promise. Fuller made the transition as a then 24 year-old onto the football field as a wide receiver. Fuller had to earn his way on to special teams reps, and was paying his own way through school as a walk-on. The following season, 2012, Fuller continued to work his way up through depth charts and played 12 out of 13 games as a receiver and on special teams.

Prior to this season, Fuller was awarded an athletic scholarship, and the 26-year-old, timed at 4.34 in the 40-yard dash, was making a strong push for quality playing time throughout Fall camp. Currently, Fuller ranks 4th on the team in receptions with 18 catches for 261 yards and a touchdown. The 6-1 210 pound junior knows his playing time is about to increase. Baylor starting wide receiver Tevin Reese broke his wrist last week and is out for the rest of the season. While most team officials say that it will be a committee approach to replace the numbers Reese was putting up, there is no doubt that Fuller will be a big part of that group.

"First off, you have to give unbelievable props to Tevin. What he has been able to do here in his career is amazing. We love him, and he is still our leader," Fuller says of the senior wide receiver who has accounted for 824 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. "It is our job to fill his shoes, and they are big shoes, but I don't think it has to be on one guy. It is a committee and we are up for the opportunity."

Fuller knows his maturity has allowed him to view the challenges and pressures of this historic season from a different perspective than most of the younger players on the roster, but Fuller is quick to point out that he and his teammates are all in this together. "I don't think I look at it much different than these guys. Yes, I have more experience playing baseball, but as far as playing in front of 50,000 or 60,000 people, I don't have that much experience. I think age has a little bit to do with maturity, but I am just looking forward to this opportunity."

Fuller explains that no one individual player will be able to replicate what Tevin Reese brought to the field, but as a collective unit, they can obtain incredible results.

"We all have to step it up. We are all capable of doing great things, but we are all going to do it in our own way."

Baylor has plenty of receivers that will see the field in Reese's absence. Levi Norwood, Corey Coleman, Jay Lee, and Robbie Rhodes all have contributed from the receiver spot this season. None of them, however, brings what Fuller brings to the field.

"I hope I bring leadership because of my age and how I go about my business. We have yet to see what I am really capable of doing, but that is what this opportunity is for."

Stay tuned to BearsIllustrated.com for all the latest regarding Baylor recruiting and athletics.

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