Clayton Uber emerged as one of the more pleasant surprises for Nixa last season and among the primary reasons for the Eagles’ late rise that included four wins in six games.
Uber, who barely registered a blip on Nixa’s pre-season radar, finished second on the team with 89 tackles. Also, he was a difference-maker in key moments by posting five stops for a loss and one quarterback sack, to go along with three interceptions and two recovered fumbles.
He picked off a Carl Junction pass at the Bulldogs’ 25-yard line with 1:10 to play to clinch a 21-14 Nixa win.
“I had some good highlights,“ Uber said. “I got a good opportunity, put up some good numbers and had a breakout season. I want to put up even better numbers this year.”
Uber indeed is just as motivated, if not more so, this time around for his senior campaign. In addition to working toward goals, he’s continuously inspired to play his best on a daily basis by the memory of his older brother, Cody.
Cody, a 2014 Nixa graduate, was killed in an infamous automobile crash in November of 2014 near Highlandville that also claimed the lives of Landon Potts and Logan Middleton, both of Nixa and Lance Porterfield, of Sparta.
Clayton was a sixth-grader at the time of Cody’s passing and grew up watching Cody play for the Eagles as an inside linebacker and fullback. Clayton is an outside linebacker/strong safety.
“He’s a great role model to me. I miss him,” Clayton said. “He was passionate about whatever he liked and football was one of the things he loved. Every holiday, we’d go to our grandma’s house and play football. I’d get a lot of work in with him. He taught me to love the game. I had fun watching football with him, too. He made me a Dallas Cowboys fan.”
Clayton had transferred from Clever to Nixa a year prior to losing his older brother so he could play football. At that point, Clever did not have a football program. The Jays have since started playing football and will strap on shoulder pads on Friday nights for the first time this fall.
Most of the Clever players Uber still knows well.
“They were some of my best friends,” he said. “I’m happy they’re getting the chance to play varsity ball this year. I’ll be rooting for them.”
Likewise, Uber has a fan in new Nixa coach John Perry. Uber has certainly made a favorable first impression on Perry during the Eagles’ summer camp.
“His attitude is fantastic and he’s one of the hardest working kids on the team,” Perry said. “He represents our three program-drivers — to be tough, play with great effort and play with passion. That defines him.”
Uber is pleased to also be defined as a versatile talent capable of giving Nixa’s defense a lift against the run or the pass. By shifting between outside linebacker and strong safety, he’s listed at ‘Rambo’ in the Eagles’ defensive scheme.
“I like it because I can be diverse,” he said. I like being a difference in a lot of spots. I to like help out against the run and the passing game.”
As for the prospect of extending his football career beyond high school, Uber has been among the majority of prep players in every sport to have summer showcase plans interrupted due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many college camps have been either postponed or cancelled.
“I had a lot of them lined up to go to, but they got cancelled,” Uber said. “One camp just got re-scheduled, I’m going to a Missouri Southern State camp on Aug. 1. I need to get my name out there because I’d love to play at the next level. Anywhere I can play four more years, I’d love to do that. Now is the time to prove I can play at the next level.”