WACO, Texas -- Clay Fuller wanted to find a unique way to make his marriage proposal to his girlfriend, Makenzie Robertson.
The Baylor wide receiver succeeded, making the most unforgettable catch of his life.
Fuller originally planned to propose at a football event sometime during his upcoming senior season. But the former minor-league baseball player decided involving his diamond roots might make for an even more special occasion.
During an appearance at a Round Rock Express game with other Baylor teammates July 31, Fuller stunned his girlfriend by writing "Will You Marry Me?" on a baseball.
His proposal will help him get through some recent disappointment -- he fractured his right clavicle while running a deep route last week. Doctors have told Fuller he will be sidelined about eight weeks, with a likely return around Baylor's start of Big 12 play.
Marriage had been discussed frequently by Fuller and his fiance, a former Baylor basketball and softball player who is the daughter of Lady Bears basketball coach Kim Mulkey.
"I had no idea whatsoever he had planned something like that," Robertson said. "I gave him a hard time, saying he could never surprise me because we're together so often. But was I ever wrong."
The baseball idea came to Fuller only a day before his appearance at the game. When he learned he would be catching a ceremonial first pitch from quarterback Bryce Petty, he figured writing his message would be something she would recall for a long time.
He just had to keep the ball and the ring away from her before the appearance, which was difficult because Robertson wanted to play catch with him on the field before the game started.
"We had a separate ball that I played catch with her," Fuller said. "Right before I went out there, I exchanged that ball with the other one, gave Bryce the ring and went out on the field. He had the ball in his pocket and the ring and then he threw me the pitch. When we exchanged handshakes, he gave me the ring and the ball in the same hand and she had no idea what had happened."
When Fuller presented Robertson the baseball, her reaction and response was exactly what the former Smithson Valley standout had hoped.
No words can describe my joy!!! The night could not have been any more perfect!! ❤ pic.twitter.com/HQrrgTWUQF— Makenzie Robertson (@makenzie_rob) August 1, 2014
"It couldn't have been more perfect," Robertson said. "He loves baseball, but he cared more about going back to college, finding a wife and beginning his family. With this
being his last time on the field, it couldn't have been any better."
It was fitting the proposal involved athletics. The couple's first date came 16 months ago at the Ferrell Center, where they played several games of one-on-one basketball.
"I beat him and gave him a hard time," she said, laughing. "I'm very thankful and blessed with him. I couldn't be happier."
Fuller, 27, played six years in the Los Angeles Angels' farm system before entering Baylor as a walk-on receiver before the 2011 season. He has gradually worked his way into the Bears' rotation, producing 32 receptions for 512 yards and three touchdowns in helping Baylor to its first Big 12 football championship last season.
After struggling with a groin injury during spring practice, Fuller briefly considered giving up football. But he recovered and was poised to contend for playing time at wide receiver.
Fuller told reporters after the injury he knew how severe it was as soon as it happened because he had broken his left clavicle while playing high school football.
Even with his recent injury, he's determined to have a big finish to his college career. Robertson will take care of the wedding arrangements while he heals before returning to Baylor's deep corps of receivers.
"It's football season, and I'm supposed to be out there with them," Fuller said. "I'll leave all the wedding stuff to the women. I just say yes to everything."
The wedding is scheduled for July 11. It promises to be the Waco social event of next summer.
"I'm happy for him and the Mulkeys," Baylor football coach Art Briles said. "Because that's a great day, and it's going to involve two great people."
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