- Name: Clay Schueffner
- Position: Linebacker
- College: Winona State University
- Height: 6’2
- Weight: 230 lbs.
- Twitter: @Cschueffner
- Instagram: cschueffner39
What makes you a top prospect at your position in the 2024 NFL Draft?
What makes me a top prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft process is my work ethic, leadership, and willingness to learn and adapt. I have always had a first guy in the facility and the last guy to leave mentality. I have been willing to always put in the extra work and do whatever it takes to be successful. Playing the linebacker position in our defensive system requires a lot of knowledge about the game of football and I have been finding myself continuing to excel in that position.
At what age were you first interested in the sport of football?
I have been interested in football since a young age. As a kid I remember even before I was able to play tackle football watching football with my dad every Sunday patiently waiting for my opportunity to play the game. It has always been a passion of mine and the love for the game I had as a kid still holds true today.
What is one thing that NFL teams should know about you?
I am a guy that is willing to do whatever to help an organization win football games. It can be any special team position or any spot on the field. If the team needs me in that position to win, I am more than willing to fill that role. I feel I possess the skills and the work ethic to meet the needs of many different roles on the football field.
If you could donate to one cause in the world, what would it be?
If I could donate to any cause in the world, it would be to Children’s Hospitals across the world. I was in the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin when I was a child and the things I saw kids having to go through made me put everything I had and was going through into perspective and not take anything I had for granted. There are plenty of kids and families that are going through hard times at all different ages, and I would love to be able to do anything I can to help make those tough times better. It is one place I would take the opportunity to give back to in a heartbeat and make someone ‘s life easier or better.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice I have ever received is from a coach of mine and he said, “in life you can use hard times as excuses to tear you down and as an excuse to not succeed or you can use it as motivation to pull you out of those hard times and excel in life.”
Who was your childhood hero?
My childhood heroes are my parents, as a young kid they have sacrificed so much for my two siblings and me to succeed. My dad worked out of town a good amount when I was growing up and he would still drive three hours at night to watch and support my siblings and I in our sporting events, then drive all the way back that following morning to make it back to work on time. Since my father was out of town working a lot, my mom oversaw three kids that all played three-plus sports and were on several different traveling teams and she got us to all our practices. It didn’t matter the time or place while working a full-time job. My parents have always taught and shown me what a good work ethic is and to never give up on something I am passionate about.
Who is the most underrated teammate in your locker room at your school?
I would say Tristan Root is one of the more underrated guys on our team. I say this because he plays several positions for us which includes starting punter, safety, and starts on several other special teams. He has a wide skill set that many teams would love to have and be able to utilize him as we do.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Laziness, I feel, is one of the biggest downfalls a person can have as a character trait. Kids/young adults that are lazy never get a lot accomplished and therefore cannot be trusted on the field, in the classroom, and in the real world. Not being able to rely on someone to work hard when no one is watching or pushing them is one of the things that irritates me the most.
Overcoming adversity is what defines character, what was the hardest moment in your life to overcome?
One of the hardest moments I have had to overcome is my brother passing away in a hunting accident when I was a freshman in college. Being away from my family during that time when we needed each other the most was one of the hardest things in the world for me to get through. It was my first semester at Winona State and in the middle of the football season which made it even more difficult.
Tell me something about your school and why it is so special to you?
Something special about Winona State to me is the people. Winona is not a very big town and the community outreach we receive is amazing. The town of Winona shows great love and support for the university which makes it feel like home.
What is your favorite snack food?
Beef Stick and Cheese
What is the best part of football?
The best part of football is the brotherhood and team aspect of the game. Football is one of the only sports where one guy cannot win a team game. It takes all 11 guys on your side of the ball to function as one unit to have success in the game of football. This leads to building a strong friendship with those around you. This can lead to a bond that can last a lifetime.
If you could sell yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
I have had a love for this game ever since I was a kid and my love for the game shows up in my action, words, and leadership ability on and off the field.
If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be?
Leighton Vander Esch, because he is just a hard-nosed grinder type of a guy. He does not do a lot of over the top or fancy things, but he is a great guy that you can always rely on. He is a guy that is constantly working and has improved as his career has progressed. He has formed into one of the better middle linebackers in the NFL.
If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Luke Kuechly, Kobe Bryant, and Ray Lewis because of their mindset and the knowledge they possess on how to approach a game. They are all ultra-competitive people like me and will do anything to win. Just being able to listen to them talk about their playing days would be an experience I would never forget.