. Clay Goad has only been playing football for a year. He’s played soccer since he was a kid, including several summers on club soccer teams.
So guess which sport Goad would naturally want to transition from high school to college?
Despite receiving interest from several college soccer programs, Goad stayed true to his heart and signed to play football with Maryville.
“I still have (college) coaches talking with me about soccer,” Goad said. “It gave me something to think about, but I’m just enjoying football right now. I really love it. I love the excitement of it. What’s not to love? You get to hit somebody. I just feel like that’s what I want to play.”
The Clarksville Academy star had schools like King College, Delta State, Centre College and Trinity Christian College inquiring about his soccer skills, but not many asking about his football ability. He got a nudge in the right direction when former Academy teammate, and current Maryville player, Nolan Blake passed Goad’s name to Maryville’s coaching staff. The Cougars’ staff sent tape to Maryville, and when Goad had a chance to speak to the Maryville staff, they already knew his 2012 season statistics.
“I don’t think we even sent stats to them,” Goad said. “They just showed a real interest in me and gave me reasons why I would work there.”
Maryville recruited Goad to play on its special teams as a field goal kicker and kick and punt returner. He did all three at the Academy, as well as serving as the team’s leading wide receiver.
“I love special teams,” Goad said. “It’s a lot of fun and you get a real chance to show your athleticism. I really like kicking too. I’m amazed at guys like (Titans kicker) Rob Bironas and how well they do in pressure situations.”
Goad said Maryville informed him they have no kickers or punters returning to the team this coming fall and view him as someone who could see immediate playing time on special teams. Blake was recruited by Maryville to be the team’s punter. And a third former Clarksville Academy standout, Brian Conn, helped make Goad’s decision easy.
“I don’t think I’d do well off on my own,” Goad added. “I don’t know if I could function. There would be too many distractions. I’m glad that there are two guys I know well already on (Maryville’s) team. I think that’ll make things easier for me.”
Goad returned only four kickoffs last all, one of which came back for a touchdown. He helped the Cougars to an 8-3 record and a second straight District 10-A title. But Clarksville Academy was knocked out of the Class A playoffs by district rival Nashville Christian. Goad would only play the first quarter of that game before an injury ended his season.
Goad finished the season with 36 receptions for 705 yards and six touchdowns. He holds the school’s single-season receiving yards record and was one of the most dangerous all-purpose players in the district. He was also named to The Leaf-Chronicle All Area Football Team, as well as the TSWA Class A All-State football team.