South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney won't be sitting out the 2013 college football season, as some advised, and he's now officially protected against a catastrophic injury.
According to The Post and Courier's Darryl Slater, the soon-to-be junior star said Thursday that he has obtained a $5 million insurance policy from the NCAA:
Clowney said he has obtained a $5 million insurance policy through the NCAA.— Darryl Slater (@DarrylSlater) March 7, 2013
According to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman, Clowney's policy is the most allowable by NCAA bylaws:
The max allowed per NCAA. RT @darrylslater Jadeveon Clowney said he has obtained a $5 M insurance policy through the NCAA.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) March 7, 2013
Clowney's policy would protect the Gamecocks in the event of a career-ending injury. If injured, the insurance provider would have to pay Clowney in a lump sum and he would forfeit his ability to play football again.
However, the policy will not cover Clowney if an injury forces him to drop from his expected draft position. According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the NCAA's insurance provider only covers career-ending instances and not loss of value:
NCAA carrier will not write policies for loss of value insurance. College player has to go somewhere else if they want that option.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) February 13, 2013
That point became salient when Kentucky center Nerlens Noel tore his left ACL in February and could be even more important for Clowney.
As a sophomore, Clowney emerged as arguably the nation's best defensive player.
Listed at 6'6" and 256 pounds, the Gamecocks star was an absolute wrecking ball for opposing offenses against both the pass and run. He recorded 13 sacks—tied for third in the nation—but his most famous play actually came defending against the run.
Crashing through the line almost instantly, Clowney leveled Michigan running back Vincent Smith for an eight-yard loss and recovered a fumble on the play. The play helped spur a victory for South Carolina and led to rampant speculation about Clowney's draft stock had he been eligible.
Bleacher Report's NFL draft lead writer Matt Miller was more than impressed after watching the scouting tape. He compared Clowney to Andrew Luck, who was considered by many as the most complete quarterback prospect in a long time:
Jadaveon Clowney is the Andrew Luck of defensive end prospects. Write it down.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 5, 2013
With so much at stake, Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer was the first to float the idea of Clowney sitting out his junior season. He would thus avoid any injuries, all while keeping his draft stock from falling.
While Clowney ultimately dismissed that possibility, it seems he wasn't ready to set foot on the field without some form of protection.