With a sports agent for a father and name phonetically akin to one of the world’s greatest athletes, it was natural for Brian Clay Jr. to gravitate toward sports.
And Clay — no relation to Hawaii-raised Olympic decathlete Bryan Clay — said it was a natural decision to choose to play for the University of Hawaii football team.
Clay, a cornerback from Will C. Wood High in Vacaville, Calif., yesterday orally accepted a scholarship offer from the Warriors.
"I love the family atmosphere there," said Clay, who took a UH recruiting trip in early December. "That’s important because it’s so far away from home."
Clay said he also was impressed with the UH coaches — particularly his future position coach, Rich Miano — and his future teammates.
"Hawaii is going to win a lot of games," Clay said. "It’s going in the right direction. I want to be a part of that."
Clay said he is 6 feet 1, 185 pounds, and can run 40 yards in 4.59 seconds. He is projected to compete as a cornerback and on special teams. Scouts liken Clay to UH freshman John Hardy-Tuliau. Clay will put his commitment in writing Feb. 2, the first day recruits may sign binding national letters of intent.
He will turn down offers from Army, Air Force, Colorado State, San Diego State, Nevada-Las Vegas, San Jose State and Utah State.
His father played for Fresno State, and now is an agent representing football and baseball players.
Clay has a 3.5 cumulative grade-point average. He aspires to study business or marketing at UH.
Although he is active in school and sports, Clay also works at a car wash.
"I don’t like to rely on my family for money," Clay said. "They already do a lot for me."
He said he often is asked if he is related to the gold-medal-winning decathlete.
"It’s pretty good that people think that," Clay said. "He’s one of the world’s greatest athletes."
Former Warriors running back Alex Green and offensive tackle Laupepa Letuli are going to Disney World.
Both have been invited to participate in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 22 in Orlando, Fla.
"It’s huge for them," said Miano, who serves as UH’s pro football liaison. "And it’s good for our program. It gives Hawaii exposure."
Green, who is training at the Athletes’ Performance facility in Carson, Calif., also will compete in the NFL Scouting Combine in late February.
Letuli, who has battled injuries during his six-year career at UH, was not invited to the NFL Combine. Agent Leo Goeas said the Shrine all-star game will be an opportunity for Letuli to improve his pro stock.
NFL scouts regard Letuli as a guard. He will play tackle in Orlando.
"This will help him more," Goeas said. "It’s much easier to move inside (from tackle to guard) than to play tackle."
Letuli said: "The whole time I’ve been (at UH), I’ve been hurt. Hopefully, I can start doing something in the Shrine game."
Letuli will train under Chad Ikei in Arizona. He expects to weigh 305 for the game, down 15 pounds from his playing weight at UH in 2010.
With more than 300 NFL personnel expected to attend, Goeas said, the UH prospects have a chance to make an impression during the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practices leading up to the game.