But he's also playing because he's been successful. West Virginia needs a blocking back to both pave the way for tailbacks and block for quarterback Geno Smith. Clay has done both well.
"I'm really proud of that kid,'' Holgorsen said. "We didn't know what he was going to do when we recruited him. The kid is playing well. He loves his role, whether it's tight end or special teams. He's doing a great job. Ryan and Donovan were out with injuries and he stepped up and played 45 snaps on offense at a pretty high level. He had a lot to do with springing [Andrew] Buie for a lot of those runs.
"He's a very consistent guy and he's a hard worker. He loves his role and understands his role.''
That his role now is as a fullback, though, is rather surprising. He actually played the position most of his life before becoming a tight end at George Washington.
"I always figured that would be where I'd play college football,'' Clay said. "But then I didn't stop growing.''
He does still play some tight end. In fact, he's become valuable as an offensive weapon, even though he doesn't touch the ball. If he's in the game as a fullback, he can switch to tight end or slot receiver and the Mountaineers are essentially in a new personnel grouping without substituting.
"Being able to get into the different sets with the same personnel drives defensive coordinators crazy,'' Holgorsen said. "But we're not going to put guys in there that are unable to fill a role. He can run and catch. He's not very fluid at it, but he can get the job done. And he does a great job of blocking on the perimeter.''
That Clay hasn't - and most likely won't - touch the football is of very little concern to him.
"We've got enough weapons - Tavon [Austin], Stedman [Bailey], Buie. Why would you need to use me?'' Clay said. "I'm fine with helping them out rather than making a fool out of myself.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.