The race will have to wait, for now.
Cal wide receiver Kaelin Clay and tailback Brendan Bigelow, probably the two fastest players on the team, were talking about racing to determine who held speed supremacy among the Bears. Clay said they were going to make it happen soon, but that was before Clay suffered a knee injury on the first day of training camp.
Clay is now out for at least three weeks, so his quest for the No. 3 wide receiver spot — and a win over Bigelow — will have to come at another time.
“We were about to set it up,” Clay said. “When we were at Grant High School, he came up to me and said, ”We should race.’ I thought he was playing. He said he was serious. He said he saw me in high school. I said, ‘I saw you in high school, too.’”
Clay finished third in the state meet in the 100 meter dash with a time of 10.44 seconds as a senior at Long Beach Poly. Bigelow has a personal best time of 10.62 but didn’t race his junior or senior years at Central East-Fresno because of knee injuries.
“Clay, of course, claims he is faster and would win the race. Bigelow says they will race “in due time.”
In the meantime, Clay is just trying to get back in time for the season opener Sept. 3 against Fresno State. Clay had surgery Tuesday to have his meniscus trimmed and could be back as soon as three weeks. But that’s just when his knee could be healed. He’d have to return to practice and show that he’s back in shape and game-ready before he actually plays.
“I just want to be out there with the team,” Clay said.
The injury was a frustrating setback for Clay, who was battling Michael Calvin and Coleman Edmond for playing time behind starters Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen.
“It was tough having it happen on the first day of camp,” Clay said. “When this happened, it was a setback. I felt like I was in a good spot, battling for that third position.”
The good news for Clay is that trainers have already told him that his range of motion following the surgery is ahead of schedule. Doctors also told him that when he fully recovers, he should still have his most important asset — speed.
“That was one of my worries, that i might lose my speed,” Clay said. “They actually said a lot of times you can get faster. If I could get faster, that would work out a lot better. But it will take some time to get everything back to normal, running full speed.”