What’s in a name? Some names are commonplace, run of the mill. Others standout for their uniqueness, for the history that has followed that name.
Miller senior wide receiver Cassius Clay has never strapped on a pair of boxing gloves like his namesake as he shares the same birth name with three-time undisputed heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. But Miller’s Clay is a sure-handed deep ball threat that is one of the stars of an offense tearing up South Texas High School Football.
Soft spoken and humble, Clay has become a model for his teammates at practice and the kids in the community that come to watch Miller during this resurgent period. All the while continuing to answer questions about his name.
“I get asked about it all the time,” Clay said. “I’m a little sick of it. But I’ve got to make high expectations and set my goals.”
Clay’s father, also named Cassius Clay, was named by his grandmother in honor of the boxing legend. Cassius Clay Sr’s older sister, Sonji, would have been named Cassius, but instead was named after Muhammad Ali’s first wife. Cassius Clay Sr. wanted to pass on the name in honor of her.
The younger Cassius Clay acknowledges his name has a connection to greatness, but at the same time wants people to focus on what he and the rest of the Miller football team are trying to accomplish — a district championship and a deep playoff run.
Even so, just his name has succeeded in turning heads.
Miller offensive coordinator Ruben Garcia said his coaching friends always ask about Clay when they see his name on the stat sheets. It gives Garcia a chance to praise a motivated athlete who works on getting one percent better every day, Garcia said.
Garcia joined the Buccaneers this season and immediately saw Clay as a hard-working athlete that motivates the younger players around him.
“It’s something that can be contagious when your kids see your star is one of the kids that’s getting after it and doing what he’s coached to do and being unselfish,” Garcia said.