Jadeveon Clowney: 10 Ways He Can Change College Football

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIIFebruary 14, 2011

Jadeveon Clowney: 10 Ways He Can Change College Football

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    Steve Spurrier can now say he possesses the nation's top recruit from the class of 2011.

    Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end from South Pointe High School, has just signed with the South Carolina Gamecocks.

    What does this mean for Spurrier and the Gamecocks?

    South Carolina has a physical specimen coming in to rush the quarterback. On Maxpreps.com, Clowney is listed as a defensive lineman and a wide receiver. That is a tribute to his deceiving speed and quick pursuit.

    He lined up at many different positions in high school, including running back, where he averaged over eight yards a carry.

    Clowney will revolutionize the SEC, and here's why.

1. Speed

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    Some have called him the best thing since Mario Williams.

    Why give him a ceiling?

    Clowney's speed is what gives him the edge over anyone who's trying to block him. Once he has a clear view at the ball carrier, consider him done. On many occasions, he ran running backs down from behind, something not expected from a defensive lineman.

    Not only is he quick up and down the field, he has lateral speed as well. Clowney was able to sniff out screens, sometimes beating the ball there and intercepting it before taking it back for an easy touchdown.

    He scored on a 97-yard touchdown run, beating a defensive back to the end zone.

    Enough said.

2. Strength

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    He's not quite as big as Julius Peppers, but he's still got time to bulk up.

    Listed at 6'6" tall and 240 pounds, Clowney still needs to add some weight. He already has the natural height that helps players at the position.

    Clowney routinely knocked linemen into the backfield instantly, rarely seeing much resistance. He used brute strength to move anyone in his way before swarming the ball.

    If Clowney continues to work with strength coaches, he'll be hard to stop or—better yet—slow.

3. Desire

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    These highlights show Clowney doing a little bit of everything, constantly mixing it up.

    What's the similarity between each play?

    Clowney's desire to make a big play. In each small clip, he never gives up. He's constantly shown running someone down after getting beat initially and getting in on the tackle.

    There's no quit in his style of play. It seems as if the way you can stop him is putting him on the ground—and even that's not 100 percent.

4. Hard Hits

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    Picture Clowney in four years, 40 pounds heavier and sporting a Steelers uniform.

    Not that hard? Good.

    Clowney has the speed and strength to get to the ball, but it's what he does when he gets there that is so scary. His initial contact is jarring, and when he wraps up, he brings the ball carrier to the ground with serious force.

    He caused 11 fumbles in just 15 games as a senior. If other teams don't protect the ball, he'll rip it away.

    If they do, he's going to try even harder to knock it out.

5. Big Play Ability

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    Clowney can bring down the quarterback. He registered 29.5 sacks as a senior.

    What makes him so special is his ability to jar the ball loose, intercept passes and accelerate towards the end zone. Five defensive touchdowns during his senior year tell the story.

    Big plays by the defense win games, just as Nick Collins proved in Super Bowl XLV.

    Clowney can bring some game-changing plays to South Carolina.

6. First Step

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    Nothing is more important for defensive ends than a first step.

    Jadeveon Clowney wastes no time taking his.

    In highlights of the high school standout, he was usually the first player to react to the snap. His quick first step gave him even more of an advantage against offensive linemen, who he bullied around.

    Speed is one thing; acceleration is another.

    Clowney has both.

7. Wingspan

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    Clowney has arms that seem to go on forever.

    When judging a defensive lineman's talent, there can be physical restraints. Not only is Clowney strong and fast enough, he also has arms fit for the job.

    Being able to push a lineman further away from you is essential in shedding a block. Clowney has the essentials to do just that.

    If Clowney puts a little more muscle on his long arms, they will be certified weapons.

8. Utility Player

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    College football coaches love a player that can do it all. Opposing coaches do not.

    Clowney will likely take most of his reps at DE, but there's no saying he won't do anything else. In high school—like many others—he lined up all different positions.

    Unlike others, he succeeded everywhere he was put.

    He's not going to make a run for the starting quarterback position, but his knowledge of various positions gives him a better game IQ.

    Clowney may be a defensive end, but he knows what goes through the mind of a running back—because he's been there.

9. Presence

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    Being 6'6" earns a player immediate respect in college football.

    Clowney will likely draw double teams based on appearance alone. Very few individuals will be able to handle him alone, and this will open up opportunities for the Gamecock defense.

    His name alone on an opposing coach's game plan will draw some attention. With all the hype surrounding Clowney, he has a reputation before he's even stepped onto a college football field.

10. Fellow Defensive End

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    Clowney will join junior-to-be Devin Taylor in South Carolina.

    Taylor is taller than Clowney at 6'7", meaning the ends in South Carolina combine to be 13'1" tall.

    That's scary to face for opposing quarterbacks looking to throw over the line and a rarity in college football. Even if quarterbacks get the ball past the line, these two aren't afraid to chase players down the field.

    If the Gamecocks' ends stay healthy, they'll be a big problem for opposing offenses.