Bryce Clay: A Lifelong Dream in the Making

Junior Bryce Clay Commits to the University of Michigan. His Dream School.


Jake Heilman, Sports Reporter

You see collegiate athletes ranging in size, brains, and overall physique. Division One athletes are on another level.

Junior Bryce Clay, who recently committed to the University of Michigan for lacrosse, is one of those athletes.

“We were out in Baltimore playing in the Inside Lacrosse Invitational.” Bryce said. “Their head coach liked me. Everything was just going really well. Their offensive coordinator was there to watch a game, and I played pretty well, scored a couple G’s, and then talked to my coach shortly after.”

Bryce’s journey didn’t just start in Baltimore however, his lacrosse journey began way back when he was in first grade with fellow teammate junior Patrick English. Playing little league together, they dominated the competition.

“It wasn’t really tough or anything,” Bryce said. “It was kind of him and I against everybody else. I’d pass to him and he’d pass to me. The coaches always got mad when I’d jump in the net and stop shots, because there are no goalies at that level, and you just couldn’t do that.”

Through fourth grade Bryce continued to play attack and worked to score goals. In fourth grade, he ran into the problem of heel issues. Off of a suggestion from his dad, Bryce jumped into the goalie position for the first time.

“I got a goalie stick, and I was a little bit of a bigger kid, so I couldn’t really move as well… [but moving to goalie] was a good thing you know,” Bryce said. “So I hop in net and you know I’m saving here, I’m saving there, just making some pretty sweet saves.”

In the seventh grade, Bryce began playing travel lacrosse for The Juiced Cherries, coached by founder Jake Kinney. Bryce now gives Kinney credit in helping with the recruiting process.

“Those are the guys that really helped with recruiting,” Bryce said. “Jake knows almost every coach in the game; he’s just got the connections. He knows JP, the head coach at Michigan, so he helped me out, and he is just a great dude.”

No one however had helped Bryce throughout the course of the high school season as much as his brother Andrew Clay. Now playing in college at Michigan State University, Andrew brought plenty of energy and competition to Bryce throughout their childhood years.

“Andrew gave me a good competitive edge,” Bryce said. “We would almost brawl and almost just flat out punch each other throughout practice. Andrew is a pretty sweet defender. He just helped me develop a competitive edge and a never quit attitude.”

Bryce’s dad, Patrick Clay, has also had a major impact on Bryce’s lacrosse career. This year, he moved in as FHC’s varsity head coach. His dad has helped him throughout the years keeping his game at a high level.

After making the team his freshman year, and starting ever since, Bryce has also managed to become a 2x All-Conference selection, a 2x All-State selection, and this past year an All-American selection at the end of the season.

“I’m going to be a hard worker and show that in practice,” Bryce said. “If things go my way, maybe I can finish like I did last year with an All-American and a state title.”

Bryce’s success, like any Division One athlete, has come with hard work. Best friend and fellow varsity starter Tanner Hallock explained the nonstop work-ethic showed by Bryce everyday.

“Bryce is just dedicated to his craft,” said Tanner, who’s a four year varsity starter. “He hits the weight room like no other, and it shows. He’s one of the strongest kids on the football team. You usually expect an offensive lineman or a backer, but Bryce will compete with anyone for that title. He’s always doing that extra hour after practice, always playing wall ball. Everyone always sugarcoats that and says that everyone who has achieved anything has done that, but Bryce literally lives up to it.  He just works hard at everything.”

Most people know Bryce on the field as a workhorse and a goal scorer. But not only is Bryce one of the state’s top scorers, he also racks up plenty of assists throughout the season. Not your usual high school star.

“He’s a do-it all,” Tanner said. “If you ask him to dish a pass, get an assist, he’ll do it.  You ask him to score a goal, and he’ll run right through everybody and go score. I think he’s a very unselfish player. I don’t think people realize even though he had the most goals in the state last year, he gives out almost as many in assists. He’s just one of the most unselfish players I’ve ever played with.”

Bryce has been one of the most humble commits throughout the whole recruiting process.

“I don’t even think he cares that he’s known as a U of M commit,” Tanner said. “He’s committed to his dream school. I think he goes out there everyday just like if he wasn’t committed.  He’s very humble and is just a great kid. He really deserves everything he’s gotten.”

Bryce comes from a long line of University of Michigan fans. His dad has season football tickets, while his grandpa is a “Michigan freak.” His whole family lives and breathes Michigan, and Bryce follows closely in those footsteps.

“Once they started looking at me, I knew this would be the life changer,” Bryce said. “They gave me the offer and said I could get back to them within a week, two weeks, even a month if I wanted. I literally called them back in three hours and just basically told him that I was coming to Michigan. I just knew right away it was my dream school.”

Coming from the Michigan family that lives and breathes U of M football in the fall, Bryce knows the Big House well. Michigan plays a handful of their lacrosse games there where Bryce can not wait to walk out of the tunnel and onto the turf with the big yellow block M.

“I tell you, once I walk out into the tunnel and onto that field, it’s just going to be unreal,” Bryce said. “Going out in that kind of environment and just the legacy that Michigan has, it’s just going to be… unreal. I just can’t even describe to you the feeling I’ll get.”

Bryce not only hopes to see the field in his time at U of M, he also hopes and strives to succeed at that level. Collegiate lacrosse like plenty of other sports is tough to excel in, but Bryce has his sights set high. Not only adding to the Michigan legacy, but contributing a legacy of his own.

“I want to be a contributor at Michigan. I want to be a great player, and I want to help our team be great. I want to go in and help lift our team to be the best Division One college lacrosse team in all the nation.”