SDS is continually counting down the top 25 players in the SEC for 2012, and we’re not stopping until we get to that sexy No. 1. We don’t just rank stats or project players at the next level based on athletic superiority, but we rank players based on the season they had in 2012. I know you’ll agree with every single one…
No. 3 – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
2012 stats: 54 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, five QB hurries, three forced fumbles
Why he’s worthy: Rather than arguing why Jadeveon Clowney is No. 3, I’ll have to argue why he’s not No. 1. If we’re ranking players off of pure ability, Jadeveon Clowney tops the list, because his upside and skill set are out of this world. But we’re ranking players based on the 2012 season and production on the field. And there were two other guys who had better seasons.
Clowney is a freak in every sense of the word. He’s like a Baby Lebron playing on 8’ rims at the playground. It’s not fair, seeing he posted 23.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks, making opposing quarterbacks cry like children. And he didn’t even lead the conference in either category – Jarvis Jones did.
Clowney helped lead South Carolina’s defensive line to an SEC-leading 43 sacks, good for sixth in the country. Brad Lawing did a phenomenal job, not only recruiting Clowney, but developing him, too. Clowney was also the biggest reason why USC finished in the top four in total defense in the SEC the last two seasons.
We often run out of adjectives in describing Clowney. I like the word explosive. He’s explosive off the ball; he’s explosive against opponents; and he’s explosive enough to crash the entire state of Michigan in one hit.
In one blow, Clowney delivered the hit for 2012 and 2013 in January. The way he posterized Vincent Smith will be replayed for years to come. And the entire country witnessed a micro example of what we experience every weekend.
Clowney would be the top pick in the NFL Draft as a sophomore, but thankfully for us, and not for opposing coordinators and quarterbacks, we get to witness Clowney 3.0 in 2013.
It took Carolina sack leader Eric Norwood four years to amass 29 career sacks, and Clowney, who currently has 21, will break his record in just 2.5 seasons.
- No. 4 Damontre Moore
- No. 5 Aaron Murray
- No. 6 Eddie Lacy
- No. 7 Todd Gurley
- No. 8 Dee Milliner
- No. 9 Luke Joeckel
- No. 10 Kevin Minter
- No. 11 AJ McCarron
- No. 12 Barrett Jones
- No. 13 Matt Elam
- No. 14 Cobi Hamilton
- No. 15 Chance Warmack
- No. 16 Jake Matthews
- No. 17 Jordan Matthews
- No. 18 CJ Mosley
- No. 19 Mike Gillislee
- No. 20 Cordarrelle Patterson
- No. 21 Chris Smith
- No. 22 Tyler Bray
- No. 23 Tyler Wilson
- No. 24 Johnthan Banks
- No. 25 Sam Montgomery
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports