Clay Bignell is in his first year in 2016 at Notre Dame as a defensive graduate assistant.
Bignell was a defensive graduate assistant at Northwestern each of the previous two years (2014-15). Last season, the Wildcats reached the 10-win plateau for the fourth time in program history. Northwestern had five defensive players earn All-Big Ten honors as its defense ranked among the top 20 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in pass efficiency defense (3rd), scoring defense (12th), total defense (13th) and fewest first downs allowed (19th).
Bignell, who played linebacker at Montana State, served as a defensive intern at his alma mater in 2013. His duties included significant work on video breakdown, scouting and practice preparation for his fellow defensive coaches.
Bignell won a pair of Big Sky championships at Montana State (2007-11). He was a second-team All-Big Sky Conference selection as a redshirt sophomore in 2009 when he registered 71 total tackles despite missing two games due to an injury. Bignell, who battled an ankle injury that limited him to only five starts in 2010, still put together an 11-tackle performance in the Bobcats’ near-upset of Washington State. As a senior captain in 2011, Bignell started 13 games, registered 67 tackles and helped Montana State to a 10-3 record and Football Championship Subdivision playoff berth.
Bignell graduated from Montana State in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in business.