Is Iowa's Adrian Clayborn a Cyclone-Hating Heisman Hopeful?

B.Senior Analyst IJuly 2, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 05:  Adrian Clayborn #94 of the Iowa Hawkeyes reacts to a defensive stop against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Land Shark Stadium on January 5, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Hawkeyes and Cyclones don’t get along.

Never have, never will.

At a recent mini-media day at Iowa, senior defensive end Adrian Clayborn echoed that sentiment when asked about expectations on Iowa football this upcoming season.

"[It] comes with being a Hawkeye football player. I mean, we’re the only team in the state as far as I know.” 

Hawkeye fans celebrated the statement as truth. Cyclone fans began pouting louder than usual.

Much of Cyclone Nation has been cuddled into a corner somewhere bawling about nearly losing their conference home during the recent expansion chaos. Their crying grew loud enough for the two U.S. Senators from the state to write a letter to every major conference in the country demanding a halt to expansion.

For Iowa State fans, Clayborn’s comment was like pouring salt in the wound.  

ESPN Big 12 blogger David Ubben thinks Clayborn was just getting the "rabble-rousers rabbling." For that to be true, Clayborn would have to know what a rabble-rouser was.

Like many Cyclone fans, Ubben appears to be sticking up for his Big 12 team. Who can blame the guy, as a few weeks ago, with the Big 12 conference on the brink of extinction, he was almost out of a job.

Fake Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe offered up a reminder to the Iowa defensive end on Twitter. 

"Adrian Clayborn of Iowa says they're the only team in the state. Poor guy is forgetting Northern Iowa...oh...and Drake," tweeted the Fake Beebe.

Cedar Rapids Gazette writer Marc Morehouse doesn't think Clayborn actually meant to slight the in-state rival, though.  

"Clayborn’s delivery was far from inflammatory. He followed a line of thought that everyone wants to know what the Hawkeyes are up to, which is truth in eastern Iowa."

Whether the 2010 Heisman hopeful blatantly jabbed at the Cyclones or not, he hints at a train of thought most Hawkeye fans have about the “other” Iowa team from Ames.

And yes, you read that correctly. Add Heisman watch list to Clayborn's ever-growing mountain of college football award watch lists.

Expectations are rising for Clayborn, with several publications listing him as a preseason first-team All-American. Most mock drafts predict that he's a first-round selection in 2011, including Mel Kiper.

Now add a legitimate Heisman namedrop.

Sports Illustrated 's Stewart Mandel makes the first legitimate Clayborn-for-Heisman mention in his recent Mailbag post.

“But here are a few under-the-radar possibilities: Arizona running back Nic Grigsby, Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton, and, for this year's Suh, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn.”

Clayborn is receiving comparison after comparison to Ndamukong Suh after skipping the opportunity to go to the NFL draft. 

Suh resisted the draft temptation and committed to one final season at Nebraska. It paid off for Suh and his Cornhusker team. He was the second overall pick in 2010, and his Nebraska team almost won the Big 12 title.

Like Suh, Clayborn looks to make the most of his final year at Iowa.

"I'm just trying to be better than I was last year. Which is going to take a lot. But I have just got to make this team better."

Why stop at Heisman? Clayborn for President!