Published July 1, 2011 - 12:57pm
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Jadeveon Clowney enters South Carolina already a legend in high school football. He is also picked to be on several preseason top 10 lists among all SEC defensive ends for 2011, and he hasn’t even stepped foot on the football field yet. Clowney virtually dominated every facet of the high school game, from defense to even taking one 99 yards to the house as a running back. YouTube it; it’s incredible.
As all of you know, Clowney elected to wait until after National Signing Day to make his college decision, and it had everyone foaming at the mouth, particularly South Carolina, Alabama and Clemson, wondering where he would choose to play college football.
As Clowney gets ready to suit up for the South Carolina Gamecocks, several predecessors who have delayed their college decision announement until after National Signing Day have all but excelled when they got to college – they fizzled out.
Exhibit 1 – Terrelle Pyror
Terrelle Pryor had all the hype that Clowney is receiving out of high school from Jeanette, Pennsylvania. He was the unanimous No. 1 prospect in the 2007 recruiting cycle. Pryor waited until after NSD to make his decision known between Ohio State and Michigan, and as we all know, he eventually chose to play at Ohio State. Once on campus in Columbia, he continually underwhelmed both on and off the field. As all of you know, he was the main reason Jim Tressel is no longer the Buckeye’s head coach, and Pryor has left school early to enter the NFL Supplemental Draft. His career at OSU will forever be remembered for tattoos and nine different cars in three years. He was a total cancer and one of the most selfish individuals I’ve ever seen in college football.
Exhibit 2 – Bryce Brown
Bryce Brown was a can’t-miss running back prospect from Wichita, Kansas. Brown exited the 2009 recruiting cycle as the No. 1 overall recruit at running back. He waited until after NSD to make his decision known between Tennessee and Miami. He chose Tennessee and Coach Lane Kiffin. Upon entering Tennessee, Brown had all the hype to be the next running back in a long line of greats in Knoxville. After seeing what a minimal impact he had his freshman season, coupled with the fact Derek Dooley took over for Lane Kiffin, he decided to transfer to Kansas State. He said he left Tennessee because he was dealing with family and personal problems related to his decision to come to Tennessee.
Exhibit 3 – Seantrel Henderson
Seantrel Henderson exited the 2010 recruiting cycle as the unanimous overall ranked offensive lineman. Henderson had all the athleticism, but he did have some baggage with his father trying to become a legit rapper. Crazy, I know. Anyway, Henderson signed with USC after NSD but wanted to transfer shortly thereafter. USC released him, and Henderson then ended up transferring to Randy Shannon and the Miami Hurricanes. Henderson has since been rumored he would transfer from Miami, but it has not happened yet.
Now, I am no way saying Clowney will have minimal impact at South Carolina or have a troubled future, but rather, explaining there has been some trouble with the consensus No. 1 overall prospects once they enter college. They have been looked up to their whole lives and virtually worshipped. It must be very tough knowing there are other football players who can have just as big of an impact as you can.
Anyway, I do think Clowney will do fine in college, but there are certainly question marks raised by his predecessors’ actions.
I think Clowney will have an impact at defensive end in year one, particularly rushing the quarterback off of the end. Now, I do think it will take him one or two years to handle a good SEC offensive lineman.
If Clowney does prove to show he is worthy as a freshman and can really get past a SEC tackle, I would line up and run the football right at him to take away his strengths in the pass rush game.
What impact do you think Jadeveon Clowney will have at South Carolina?