Clowney on the sideline during a game in 2012 against East Carolina.
|South Carolina Gamecocks — No. 7|
|Major: African-American Studies|
|Date of birth:February 14, 1993|
|Place of birth: Rock Hill, South Carolina|
|Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)||Weight: 274 lb (124 kg)|
|High school: Rock Hill (SC) South Pointe|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at ESPN.com|
Jadeveon Clowney (pronounced jə-DAY-vee-on CLOW-nee; born February 14, 1993) is an American football defensive end. He graduated from South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, South Carolina and played college football at the University of South Carolina. A unanimous College All-American as a sophomore in 2012, Clowney set South Carolina school records in quarterback sacks (13.0) and tackles for a loss (23.5) per season while also earning Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Southeastern Conference. Described by ESPN as "one of those rare game-changers on defense", Clowney is projected to be a top-5 selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.
High school career
A native of Rock Hill, South Carolina, Clowney attended South Pointe High School, where he played for the South Pointe Stallions high school football team. Already 6-3 and 200 lbs as a freshman in 2007, he played running back and defensive end for the school's junior varsity team. For his sophomore year he joined rising seniors Stephon Gilmore and DeVonte Holloman (both four-star recruits) on a South Pointe varsity that came off a 9–4 season. By spring practice, Clowney became a permanent fixture at defensive end. "We knew we had something special. He was 13 years old in that big athletic body. He was wreaking havoc on our offense that spring and fall," said Bobby Carroll, his coach at South Pointe. South Pointe went 15–0 for the season, including a 35–14 win over town-rival Northwestern High at Memorial Stadium, Clemson, for the 2008 South Carolina AAAA Division II title and a No. 3 spot in the annual MaxPreps high school ranking. Despite playing nearly the entire season with a bone spur in his foot, Clowney finished with 17 sacks. He elected to have surgery on the bone spur in January 2009.
South Pointe lost 31 seniors after the 2008 season, including Gilmore and Holloman. Still, Clowney helped the team to a 10–4 record for the season, and a state semifinal berth, where the Stallions lost to Northwestern. Clowney finished the season with 144 tackles and 23 sacks. For his senior season, Clowney tallied 162 tackles, 29.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, 11 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries, and scored five touchdowns on defense while leading his team to a 13–2 record. South Pointe made the state finals for the second time in three years, but lost 23–27 to Myrtle Beach at USC's Williams-Brice Stadium. Still, Clowney was named South Carolina's 2010 Mr. Football. South Pointe was 38–6 during his three varsity seasons.
Immediately following his senior season, Clowney went to Spartanburg for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, where he registered 5 tackles (2 solo, 3 assists), 3 sacks for a loss of 15 yards, 2 tackles for a loss of 17 yards and 2 quarterback hurries. Clowney was lined up against the North Carolina left tackle on every snap he played and drew five holding calls. After the Shrine Bowl, Clowney headed to Orlando, Florida, for a week of Under Armour All-America Game practices and then the all-star game itself. He was the leading tackler for the Red with seven and had 1.5 sacks. Recruiting analysts were particularly interested in his matchup with Cyrus Kouandjio.
During his high school career, Clowney was often regarded as the best player in his class. ESPN described him as "a special talent who could have vied for the top spot in several previous classes." Both major recruiting services, Rivals.com and Scout.com, as well as ESPNU, considered Clowney not only a five-star recruit, but also the No. 1 overall prospect of the 2011 class, basically throughout his senior year. Unsurprisingly, he received scholarship offers from nearly every perennial BCS powerhouse. However, Clowney left his decision open until after National Signing Day of 2011.
In a live broadcast on ESPN on his eighteenth birthday—February 14, 2011—Clowney announced his commitment to South Carolina, selecting the Gamecocks over Clemson, Alabama, Louisiana State, and Florida State. He was the third-straight South Carolina "Mr. Football" to sign with the Gamecocks, following in the footsteps of his South Pointe teammate Gilmore, and Duncan Byrnes' Marcus Lattimore. "I wanted to play in the SEC. It was easy," Clowney said. "I knew a week ago. I just tried not to tell anybody." Just days earlier, a story in the New York Times questioned Clowney's academic eligibility, but Clowney told reporters he had "no concerns and would be fine".
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||40‡||Commit date|
|Rock Hill, SC||South Pointe (SC)||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)||240 lb (110 kg)||4.6||Feb 14, 2011|
|Scout: Rivals: 247Sports: N/A ESPN grade: 95|
|Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 1 (DE) Rivals: 1 (DE), 1 (SC) ESPN: 1 (DE)|
As a true freshman at South Carolina, Clowney played in all 12 games of the season. He started the season opener against East Carolina, becoming the first freshman to start on the defensive line since Travian Robertson in 2007. In his debut, Clowney had seven tackles, a pass breakup and a QB hurry. A week later in the SEC season opener against Georgia, Clowney recorded his first career quarterback sack in the second quarter, tackling Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray for a 7-yard loss. With just over three minutes remaining and USC clinging to a 38–35 lead, Clowney sacked Murray at the 10-yard line, causing him to fumble. Fellow defensive lineman Melvin Ingram recovered the football and returned it for a touchdown to put South Carolina up by 10. Against Vanderbilt, Clowney forced two fumbles, including one that again was recovered by Ingram and returned for a touchdown. In mid-October against Mississippi State, Clowney picked up a sack, forced fumble, and two quarterback hurries. In South Carolina's 30–13 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, Clowney recorded four tackles and two sacks of quarterback Taylor Martinez.
For the season, Clowney was credited with 36 tackles, including 12 for a loss of yardage. He ranked eighth in the SEC with 8.0 sacks, the only freshman in the top 10, and logged five forced fumbles. He earned SEC Freshman of the Year and All-SEC 2nd Team honors from the league's coaches, and was also named to multiple Freshman All-American 1st Team lists, including The Sporting News, FWAA, Rivals.com, and CBSSports.com.
In his sophomore season, Clowney emerged as the best defensive player in college football. While helping South Carolina to a 11–2 (6–2 SEC) record, he set the school single-season record for sacks (13.0) and tackles for loss (23.5). He also amassed 54 tackles (40 solo) and 3 forced fumbles. Against Alabama–Birmingham, Clowney was credited with seven tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks, for which he was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. In the 27–17 win over Clemson, he sacked Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd for a single-game school record 4.5 times, earning SEC Defensive Player and Defensive Lineman of the Week honors again. It was also a Clemson Memorial Stadium record, topping the previous mark jointly held by Notre Dame's Ross Browner (1977) and Virginia Tech's Bruce Smith (1984), both College Football Hall of Famers. Along with being a Unanimous All-American, Clowney won the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's best defensive end. Additionally, he was a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Lombardi Award, and finished 6th overall in the 2012 Heisman Trophy voting. Following Clowney's incredible sophomore season, he was voted by the fans as the 2012 AT&T All-America Player of the Year on January 7.
In the Outback Bowl on January 1, 2013, Clowney helped the Gamecocks to a 33–28 victory over the Michigan Wolverines. He gained instant fame for a hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith that came with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter, after a controversial call in Michigan's favor. The hit forced a fumble that Clowney himself recovered, which then set up a touchdown on the next play. On July 17, 2013, Clowney won the 2013 ESPY Award for best play for that hit.
Following much off-season hype, Clowney began his junior season as a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. In the season-opener against North Carolina, weakened by gastroenteritis, appeared “tired” and only registered three tackles. After a slow start into the season, while being plagued by minor injuries, Clowney's Heisman chances began to fade. His decision to sit out the Kentucky game with a muscle strain near his rib area caused media controversy. In a much anticipated rematch with Tennessee offensive tackle Antonio Richardson, Clowney recorded a season-high five tackles, including four solo, in an overall performance that was widely praised. He sat out another game, against Coastal Carolina, ailing with bone spurs in his right foot on November 23.
Clowney finished his junior season with 35 tackles, 10.5 for a loss of yardage, and three quarterback sacks—considerably lower in each category compared to his sophomore year. Nonetheless, he was again a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection. However, after receiving unanimous All-American honors in 2012, Clowney was only selected to one 2013 All-America team—by the American Football Coaches Association.
2014 NFL Draft
As early as January 2013, Clowney was projected as a top-3 selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. "Clowney's a rare talent, basically to the defensive end spot what Andrew Luck and RG3 were to the quarterback position," said ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. "These type of prospects just don't come along very often." NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks described Clowney as a “meaner, nastier version of Julius Peppers.” Clowney's injuries, as well as his mediocre performance early in his junior season reportedly do not scare NFL executives. Late September 2013 mock drafts still ranked Clowney among the top-2 picks. After the college season concluded, Clowney was projected No. 4 by Sports Illustrated. In a postgame interview after the Capital One Bowl, Clowney confirmed he was going to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
At the NFL Combine in February 2014, Clowney excelled in the 40-yard dash, posting an official time of 4.53 seconds, the fastest among defensive linemen, which caused USA Today calling him "by far the most freakish physical specimen in this draft."
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|6 ft 5 ¼ in||266 lb||34 ½ in||10 in||4.53 s||1.56 s||7.27 s||37 ½ in||10 ft 4 in||21 reps|
|All values from NFL Combine|
Clowney's mother, Josenna Clowney, has been a processing technician at the Frito-Lay plant in Charlotte, North Carolina, since 1994. His father, David Morgan, was released from prison in 2006 after serving nearly 12 years for robbing a Rock Hill check-cashing business in 1995. With his father incarcerated for much of his childhood, Clowney was raised by his mother and his maternal grandparents, John and Josephine Clowney, as well as his mother’s longtime boyfriend, Christopher Jones.
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