Icon SMI - Jadeveon Clowney

SDS is continually counting down the top 25 players in the SEC for 2012, and we’re not stopping until we get to No. 1.

Jadeveon Clowney – No. 8

Next up in SDS’ top 25 countdown for 2012 is South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

In a league where defense dominates, Clowney looks to enforce his will upon opposing offenses this season.

Last year as a freshman, everyone could see what potential this kid has, and the sky is truly the limit.

At 6’6”, 260lbs, this kid is an athletic freak running around out there on any given play. And while he is very raw and maybe rough around the edges, a year under his belt, along with an off-season, will be very important for his development.

Clowney was named SEC Freshman of the Year by the league’s coaches, and he earned several other freshman defensive awards from various other media outlets as well.

Clowney had 12 tackles for loss in 2011, along with 8.0 sacks, five forced fumbles and six quarterback hurries. He proved to be a holy terror along the defensive line, and the way he threw Aaron Murray around like a rag doll shows you his brute force and strength.

The one thing that really helped Clowney last year was former defensive end Melvin Ingram’s tutelage. Ingram took Clowney under his wing, and that is probably the best thing that happened to him last year. Ingram, of course, blew up this past season, and Clowney really got to see what a thriving player acts like on and off the field, because Ingram is a class act.

I think everyone in the SEC, especially Gamecock nation, is looking for Clowney to have a very big year. He will be lined up opposite Devin Taylor, and that duo is probably in the best in the SEC, along with the LSU duo of Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo.

If Clowney was draft eligible after next season, he might be a sure-fire top 10 pick based on upside alone. Now, he just needs to mature and put it all together in his sophomore season in Columbia.


The Countdown: