Two years ago, I saw JaDeveon Clowney as a rising senior at South Pointe High School scrimmage my alma mater Richland Northeast of Columbia, South Carolina and left the contest utterly amazed.
But last season as a prized freshman at the University of South Carolina, the man-child showed America why he was the top recruit in the nation, finishing the season with 36 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss and eight sacks.
Remember, keep in mind again that JaDeveon Clowney was a freshman who did this in a rotating defensive line system. Imagine what he can do as a starter.
I don’t want to appear as a writer who is blinded and oblivious that he is participating in the SEC, but let’s look at the principle obvious: JaDeveon Clowney is a rare breed and a freak athlete.
In my opinion, playing a contributor role can be more vital than being thrown into the fire as a starter.
As a prime contributor, he could come off the bench and play a certain amount of plays a game, get a feel for the speed of college football and have more time to observe the starters in front of him and learn the playbook.
JaDeveon Clowney has had a full offseason to get stronger, faster and smarter in terms of football IQ,
He has also fully adjusted to the pace and physical style of the SEC, so 2012 should be his true introduction.
Now the starter, JaDeveon Clowney will have a major year. The sky is the limit, and he could possibly be the most dominant defensive end to play in the SEC since it became known as college football’s elite conference in 2006.
Again, I’m not saying he’s going to be stacking 150-plus tackles and 25-plus sacks like he did in high school—that would disrespect SEC offensive lineman across the board. But we can say he’s definitely going to be even better from his 2011 freshman year campaign.
I say JaDeveon Clowney will increase his stats in all categories. Some will be major improvement, a few will be minimum gain, but without question enough to make an impact and turn heads all over.
2012 Defensive stats
- Tackles (Solo): 39
- Tackles (Assisted) 23
- Tackles: 62
- Tackles for loss: 23.5
- Sacks: 14.5
- Forced Fumbles: 6
- Quarterback Hurries: 16
- Interceptions: 1
- Pass Deflections: 5