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When Clay Johnston got the call: "By God, I want to be a Ram, let's freakin' go"

Rams head coach Sean McVay's energy began to wane as the seventh round of the NFL Draft got underway.

Until he got on the phone with linebacker Clay Johnston, the team's selection with the 234th pick.

"When I got a call and they said, 'Do you want to be a Ram?' I said, 'By God, I want to be a Ram, let's freaking go.' I screamed and everyone was screaming, going nuts in here," Johnston said on a video conference Saturday afternoon. "Instantly put some pads on, ran through our front door, broke the windshield, it was awesome."

Wait. Did he actually run through the front door?

"No, not at all," Johnston said. "Totally fictional, I just had to say that (laughs). The way I feel right now, I don't blame you for asking that because I'm about to run through the door right in front of me right now."

"I have never experienced a call like that in my life," McVay said. "I was starting to fade a little bit in the seventh-round and this guy gave me a shot of adrenaline that I felt like I was going to put my head through a wall. This was guy was unbelievable."

Saturday's news also gave Johnston a much-needed boost, too.

On Oct. 12, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Baylor's double-overtime win over Texas Tech, prematurely ending what was shaping up to be a promising senior season.

His 58 tackles, eight for loss, 2.5 sacks, one interception and five pass breakups in six games was good enough for second-team All-Big 12 honors from conference coaches, but it didn't ease the disappointment of not being able to help his teammates try to reach their goals.

"It sucked, honestly. I hated every second of it," Johnston said. "Becoming injured, especially with this year we had, I thought we had the chance to win the Big 12 Championship and we did and we knew that going in with our whole class. It's definitely been a test and it's just a different process."

Johnston said his knee feels great now and that he is now running at max speed and cutting at "90-95 percent" speed, but he's being smart about it. His father Kent Johnston, a longtime NFL strength coach, and international track coach Dan Pfaff have been helping him throughout his rehabilitation process.

"(My dad and I would) go work out every day, train, do some ply works, stuff like that," Johnston said. "So, it's doing a lot better and it's only going to continue to get better, Lord willing."

If his attitude on draft day wasn't enough of an indication that he's ready to work, perhaps an endorsement from former Rams safety Eric Weddle is.

When Weddle played for the San Diego Chargers, Kent Johnston was their strength coach. Weddle told ESPN's Lindsey Thiry that Clay would work out with the team when he was in high school.

"When I would go there, we'd wake up in the morning and we'd do some defensive back drills together," Clay said when asked about his relationship with Weddle. "He'd always say, 'You're going to be the young little prodigy of Eric Weddle.' So, he'd just joke around about that. It was such a blessing being able to train with him. Such a great guy, freaking love him, he works his tail off."

Weddle strongly believes Johnston will make the Rams' initial 53-man roster this fall. If Johnston's energetic attitude is any indication, there's a good chance he can.

"Ah, come on bro, yeah. I'm hyperventilating," Johnston said, when asked if he was excited to be joining the Rams. "I wanted to get under the squat rack, wanted to get some pads on. I'm freaking stoked."

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