Tom Sorenson, who writes for the Herald Online, suggested in his Sunday column that Jadeveon Clowney should think about skipping the 2013 season.
His reason was quite simple, really – to stay away from major injury and avoid experiencing what his teammate Marcus Lattimore is now facing, with two knee injuries that destroyed his first-round potential and could inhibit his NFL career.
Clowney is the most physically ready sophomore for the NFL in quite sometime, maybe ever, and ESPN bit on the action yesterday and had a debate centered on it.
Absent all the comments and perspectives was Steve Spurrier, and he finally discussed it today with the AJC:
“Well, I hope he plays this year, and I certainly believe he should play. Now if money was his only goal in life, then he couldn’t play. And he might not get into a car before next year’s draft, so he wouldn’t be in a car wreck and get injured. He would be just very, very careful for a year not to have any kind of injury.
“But Jadeveon likes football. Football players play football. They don’t wait around on this, that or the other. He’s really good about avoiding injuries and so forth. He knows how to get out of harm’s way if there’s a big pileup around a tackle. I think the odds of him getting hurt as not nearly as much as a running back or somebody like that.
“I think he wants to play. I certainly hope and believe he does. I think he should play for South Carolina this season.
“I wasn’t surprised by the media reaction to the idea because those guys have got to talk about something for three hours every day, and that’s something to talk about,” Spurrier said. “Should he stay? Should he sit out and wait for the money?
“Most of the guys that say he should sit out, they don’t realize the benefits of being on a college football team, and continuing with your teammates to have as big of a year as you possibly can. The money is going to be there down the road, so why would a person give up the thrill of playing college football?
“Those people have never played football, so they say he should sit out and get the money. That’s the only side of sports they see — the money. There’s a lot more to it than just the money.”
Clowney could have all the potential to be the best defensive end ever in college football, let alone have one of the greatest seasons next year.
Even if Clowney decided to take a year off, it probably wouldn’t hurt his draft stock. He’d still be the No. 1 pick. But like Spurrier said, money isn’t everything, and it isn’t to Clowney. He’s motivated to be the best player he can be, and he’s even been quoted as saying the Heisman is a goal in 2013. He’s hungry; he’s competitive.
The only thing that would drop Clowney down on the draft board in 2014 outside of an injury – whether he plays or not – would be a specific team need like a quarterback or an offensive tackle. But still, no sober GM could ever pass up on taking Clowney No. 1.
The likeliest of all scenarios is that Clowney stays injury free, dominates the league and heads to the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick.
I certainly hope this isn’t the mindset of the future, because the college game we have come to know and love would be over.
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