South Carolina's two best defensive players, junior linemen Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles, are both expected to walk with the seniors at Saturday's home finale against Clemson, shedding some not-so-subtle insight into their NFL aspirations and timetable.
Spurrier said he expects juniors Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles to “go out with the seniors” and be recognized before USC’s final home game Saturday. Fellow junior Victor Hampton may be in the pregame ceremony, too.
Even with a few underclassmen joining the Gamecocks’ senior day festivities, there won’t be many in the group. USC has just four scholarship seniors who will play their final home game against Clemson.
If Clowney and Quarles do indeed turn pro after this season, it would come as a shock to no one. Both are immensely talented pass-rushers with NFL upside.
Clowney has had a down year statistically, but a lot of that has had to do with being game-planned around by opposing offenses (and some nagging injuries). He is still a once-in-a-generation prospect who is expected to go in the top five in the NFL draft.
Quarles isn't quite on Clowney's level as a physical specimen, but he is more than talented enough to warrant a high draft pick. He leads the team with 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks this season, reaping some of the benefit of playing alongside Clowney.
Earlier this season, Quarles' father hinted that his son might have already made up his mind and decided to leave for the NFL after the year. According to Willie T. Smith III of GreenvilleOnline.com, Quarles indicated that his father was speaking prematurely, but this new report suggests otherwise.
Even if both Clowney and Quarles walk with the seniors, that wouldn't necessarily bind them to any sort of decision. It would be more of a gesture than anything; either or both could still theoretically change his mind.
But Gamecocks fans shouldn't hold their breath.