The mythos of Jadeveon Clowney grows larger each day.
According to Willie Smith of The Greenville News, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said at SEC media days that he's heard reports of Clowney running a sub-4.5 40-yard dash:
Mark Schlabach got further clarification from Gamecocks receiver Bruce Ellington, who said Clowney's 40 time was actually a 4.46 and that he wasn't even running hard:
Bruce Ellington said Jadeveon Clowney ran a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash yesterday "When he ran a 4.5, he said he wasn't running hard."— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) July 16, 2013
And later on in the day, Clowney confirmed the time for himself:
For context's sake, only 31 players at the 2013 NFL Draft Combine ran a 4.46 40-yard dash or better. Every single one of those 31 was either a wide receiver, running back or defensive back.
A defensive lineman, especially one who checks in at 6'6'', 256 pounds, posting that number is unprecedented.
But Clowney is not your normal defensive lineman. He's the best defensive player in college football (this can be stated as fact now, right?), and had he been allowed to declare, he likely would have been the top pick in the 2013 NFL draft. Instead, he's the overwhelming favorite to go No. 1 in the 2014 NFL draft next May.
In May, CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman ranked Clowney No. 1 on his annual list of physical freaks in college football. And that was back when Clowney's best recorded 40 time was a 4.54.
Do You Believe Jadeveon Clowney's 4.46 40-Yard Dash Time?
Instead, Feldman focused on the immense power Clowney exhibits in getting off the ball. Referencing numbers from the Tendo, an electronic power-and-speed analyzer, Gamecocks strength and conditioning coach Joe Connolly said Clowney has a peak power rating of 8,655 watts.
The second-highest score on South Carolina's roster was 6,800—over 20 percent lower than Clowney's.
Which is all to say, in short, that Clowney is indeed the freakiest physical specimen in college football. He's big and he's strong and, apparently, he's faster than most NFL-caliber skill players. If any other guy Clowney's size came to media day and claimed to run a 4.46, the room would have laughed and chalked it up to conceit.
But after seeing what this particular player can do...is there anyone out there who doesn't believe him?