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Clayton looks to continue football play in college

South Boston News
Clayton / May 06, 2020
Bluestone senior student-athlete Neil Clayton Jr. has signed a letter of intent to attend Wooster College and play football beginning with the 2020 season.

A multi-sport standout, Clayton has received James River District and VHSL Region-2 honors each season since joining the varsity football team at Bluestone four years ago. The football team captain also wrestles and is a member of the Barons’ track and field team.

Clayton is the 2020 VHSL 2A state wrestling runner-up in the 220-pound weight class and is the 2019 2A VHSL state champion in the same division. Clayton is the only Bluestone wrestler to ever have won a state championship.

Clayton’s track performances landed him in the VHSL state tournament in 2019 where he placed fourth in the discus with a throw of 139-06.00. Clayton, then a junior, made it to the states by being named champion in the VHSH Region 2A discus and shot put events.

Clayton says Wooster’s interest in him came after he and his dad (Neil, Sr.) actively pursued colleges for the opportunity to play football. Clayton said an app named NCSA helped make the difference in his recruiting.

“So there’s this app call NCSA, Next College Student Athlete,” Clayton explained. “Me and my dad wrote emails out to a whole bunch of different schools and they were one of the schools that answered back.

“They saw my film from junior year and my senior year from football and that’s when they invited us to come down and come see the school. The head coach (Frank Colaprete) invited us, and he really wanted me to attend there.”

The Fighting Scots had a decent 2019 season and are seven-time North Coast Atlantic Conference champions. Though Clayton’s love for the sport is intense, football wasn’t his primary reason for selecting Wooster.

Clayton, who committed in March, says it’s about a quality education. He feels at Wooster he can have the best of both worlds.

“I really like it a lot,” Clayton said of Wooster. “They’re like third or fourth in the top rated schools for education and they’re like number two for the schools that have the most students employed in under six months after graduation.

“They have like a big network. So like everybody that usually graduates from Wooster is either a professional in some type of sport or education or they work for a Fortune 500 company.”

Clayton’s football coach, Harry Jo, said Clayton will excel wherever he goes. The coach said Clayton brought more than just a punishing, physical game to the gridiron.

“Neil is an extremely humble young man who I have no doubt will succeed in any of the endeavors he chooses to go after,” John said. “He is not only humble but extremely hard working, this is one of the things that makes him such a joy to coach. Neil portrays intangible qualities of leadership and a competitive nature on and off the field that helps raise not only his game but also, those around him. Neil was a pleasure to coach and I cannot wait to hear of his future stories of success.”

Clayton said he is thankful to have the opportunity to continue his football career at the next level. Wooster College is a NCAA Division-3 member. The college touts itself as, “America’s Premier College for Mentored Undergraduate Research.”

The private, Liberal Arts College is located in Wooster, Ohio and has approximately 2,000 students. The school had a 2018 acceptance rate of 56.4 percent.

Clayton’s parents are Neil Sr. and Lorena Clayton. The family lives in Boydton.

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