I'll update the blog a little more later, but I just wanted to give you an early indication of Nick Claytor's thoughts following his media session Thursday afternoon at Georgia Tech. The Gainesville native lives in Atlanta now, but was making the icy commute from Gainesville this afternoon. That's a haul under the conditions that exist outside. **Claytor's comments are in the bold**
On the decision: It was never a thing during the season where people were saying it was like with other guys -- the Big 4, we've been calling them (Dwyer, Burnett, Morgan and Thomas) -- it wasn't a thing where they're playing the game and they've got to stay safe and can't get hurt. I'm not saying they thought that, but it was never a thing where I thought I was going in the league all season. That wasn't the thought process at all. It was after the season, I sat down, did some research and then made the decision. It was never during the season that I thought I was getting out of here.
On that research: I've got a good shot, is what I've been told and I'm going to take it. The NFL advisory gave me their grade. It's in the lower rounds (5-7) and that's OK. All it takes is one team. All it takes is one team and I'm going to make sure I find that one team. The big part is learning. I'm learning a lot of different technique and I'm learning offenses and that's what it goes down into.
At 6-foot-7, 292 pounds, Claytor is a big-bodied offensive tackle whose frame is more suited for the NFL than Georgia Tech's run-based spread option scheme. In high school, and during his first year at Georgia Tech (when previous head coach Chan Gailey still ran a more pro-style offense -- ), Claytor was able to pass block more and stand a defensive end up rather than diving at his legs and cutting, as is the object of the scheme under current head coach Paul Johnson.
The transition to Johnson's offense happened between Claytor's first year on the Flats and his redshirt freshman season. He said he thought briefly about transferring at the time, but stayed with the Yellow Jackets because of his teammates and how deep that bond with them was. Besides, he said, he signed on to play at Georgia Tech; not to play for one offense or another.
Claytor, who is 10 credit hours shy of graduating, said he plans on finishing his Management degree soon. Perhaps next fall or next spring. He said his mother made that a stipulation before signing off on allowing him to decide to go pro.
He also said his finishing may be impacted by the potential lockout that may result in the NFL next season due to the collective bargaining dispute between NFL owners and the player's union. Knowing that the rookie pay grade is a matter that could be impacted slightly affected his decision to go on and go pro now, in the event none of that happens this year, Claytor said.
That's all I'll have on this for now. Going to write the story for the newspaper now. Hopefully this was enough to whet your appetite. I'll have more on this story later on.