South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney
To say that Jadeveon Clowney made a statement on New Year's Day would be a slight understatement.
His hit on Michigan's Vincent Smith has lived on highlight reels every day since, and even graced the cover of South Carolina's spring prospectus.
If he wasn't a sure-fire No. 1 draft pick before that hit, it certainly solidified him as the top pick of the NFL draft—any NFL draft. That hype was only accelerated when Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer suggested that Clowney should sit out the 2013 season and prepare for the 2014 draft.
Clowney dismissed the idea that he could (or should) skip his junior season at South Carolina to protect himself for the 2014 NFL draft after Thursday's practice in Columbia.
"Sitting out? I never thought of it. I'm going to go to school and play."
However, that's not stopping him from protecting himself from future earnings that could be lost due to injury.
Clowney confirmed that he has taken out a $5 million policy through the NCAA's Exceptional Student Athlete Disability Insurance Program.
The fact that he took out an insurance policy isn't exactly ground-breaking. Several high-profile college players have done so in recent years, including former Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and current Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The amount of Clowney's policy is just another indicator of how valuable he really is. The NCAA caps the limit of coverage for football players at $5 million, so naturally that's the amount Clowney should receive.
Will Jadeveon Clowney win the 2013 Heisman Trophy?
In reality, that's still not enough.
The policy only covers injuries or disabilities that would prevent Clowney from engaging in sporting activity at the professional level. He'll make more than $5 million simply by hearing his name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in New York City.
Clowney has the ability to take over games from the defensive side of the football, and if he stays healthy, could become the first true defensive player to take home the Heisman Trophy. He finished sixth last season, and players like Ndamukong Suh, Tyrann Mathieu and Manti Te'o have paved the way for a defensive player to finally break through that glass ceiling.
Clowney is one of the most valuable players to any team in college football, and he's taken the measures to protect himself. Hopefully we won't have to mention the insurance policy again, because another full season of Clowney at full speed will be can't-miss television in 2013.