Blinn College volleyball player Essence Clerkley has signed an NCAA letter of intent with Marshall University to continue her academic and athletic career.
“To see Essence, who has worked so hard both in the classroom and on the court, get this opportunity is extremely exciting,” Blinn head coach Terry Gamble said. “Essence is one of the hardest-working kids both academically and athletically, and one of the best athletes I have ever coached. Marshall is getting a quality person and I think Essence is going to a quality program, so it is a great fit.”
Clerkley, a sophomore outside hitter and middle blocker from Palestine, Texas, was the 2019 Region XIV Freshman of the Year. She earned first-team all-conference honors after recording 373 kills, leading Blinn with 107 total blocks and 87 block assists, and tallying 91 digs in 126 sets to help lead the Buccaneers to the 2019 NJCAA Region XIV Volleyball Championship Tournament.
In Week 4 of the 2019 season, Clerkley was named NJCAA Division I Volleyball Tachikara Offensive Player of the Week and Sports Imports AVCA Two-Year College Player of the Week after recording 43 kills with a .606 hitting percentage.
“I am so excited to sign with Marshall because they were so welcoming and like family,” Clerkley said. “I love the coaching staff and everything about it. I am looking forward to getting better at my game and being around the head coach because I know there is so much she is going to teach me when I get there and I am so ready to learn.”
Blinn finished the 2019 season ranked No. 19 in the nation with a 29-8 overall record. The Buccaneers will open the 2020-21 season at Ranger College on Friday, Jan. 22.
“I owe so much to Coach Gamble since he allowed me to be a part of this program and got me to the player that I am today, so I want to play my heart out for him this spring, Clerkley said. “I will always miss the family part of being at a junior college and the genuineness of volleyball at this level.”