Offensive Linemen Who Will Stop Jadeveon Clowney Dead in His Tracks in 2013
The men on this list, at some point in the season, have to try and slow the juggernaut that is a defensive end from South Carolina named Jadeveon Clowney.
Who is Jadeveon Clowney?
Glad you asked. He's the man who has spawned tons of hype, plenty of debate and huge expectations heading into 2013.
He's been ranked the top football player in the SEC.
Heck, Richt even went so far as to call Clowney the best football player in the world. That's right, better than anyone currently in the NFL, college ranks or anywhere else in the world where football is played.
He's on so many preseason watch lists, it is hard to keep track of them all.
When he sneezes, South Carolina scores touchdowns, and with a flick of his finger, he brushes defensive lineman aside as if they were made of paper.
He is the most over-hyped man in the world.
Make sure you read that right. He's not overrated, but over-hyped.
There is a difference.
The six offensive lineman on this list, while they will not completely stop Clowney in his tracks for an entire game, will give him a battle, and even (gasp) contain him.
It can be done, and these are the players with the best shot in 2013.
5. Kenarious Gates, Georgia
Gates has all kinds of experience at his left tackle position.
He started all 14 games in which the Bulldogs played, and helped anchor an offensive line that allowed only 68 tackles for loss on the season.
Last season, Clowney had a big game against the Bulldogs, raking up two tackles for loss and one sack.
Gates has the potential to limit Clowney's production this season with his experience, athleticism and strength.
He's 6'5" and 327 pounds, and has the experience needed to put a crimp in Clowney's style.
While Gates will not entirely stop Clowney, he will be one of few offensive linemen who Jadeveon will play against in 2013 that will be able to limit his production a little bit.
4. Antonio "Tiny" Richardson, Tennessee
Tennessee's offensive line is going to be one of the best there is in 2013.
Antonio Richardson will be a huge part of that success.
Richardson did an outstanding job against South Carolina last season, not allowing a sack until late in the game.
"Tiny" as he is affectionately called, stands at 6'6" and 330 pounds, and started all 12 games for the Vols at left tackle last season.
He's got the combination of size and agility needed to stave off Clowney, and in spite of teammate Ja'Wuan James' claim that Clowney avoids James to rush against Richardson, Tiny can hold his own.
With another year of experience under his belt, he will prove against Clowney that he is one of the best left tackles in the nation, with real NFL potential.
3. Blaine Clausell, Mississippi State
Clausell is a mountain of a man who will cause some trouble for Clowney's pass rush when South Carolina and Mississippi State meet this fall.
He's played in 24 games, starting all 13 last season for the Bulldogs, and he played a key part in Mississippi State's offensive line to ranking second in the SEC in sacks allowed.
He's entering the third season in which he will get plenty of playing time for the Bulldogs, and will likely start from the beginning of the season all the way to the end, barring injury.
He hasn't faced Clowney yet, and will find the matchup his biggest challenge to date at this level of play.
While Clowney is the most over-hyped player in college football, he is easily the best at his position, and one of the best in the SEC.
Clausell will be able to help cement his stock as a top flight offensive lineman after a stellar performance against the Gamecocks.
2. Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt
Wesley Johnson has done a little bit of everything for the Vanderbilt Commodores.
He's played at center, guard and tackle at different points in his career, and can be summed up easily as a "poor man's Barrett Jones."
His versatility is second to none, and he has played well wherever he is on the offensive line.
Clowney is a freak of nature, with the ability to take over a game and leave his mark.
That's not going to happen against a man in Johnson with the experience, speed, size and strength to match him blow for blow.
1. James Hurst, North Carolina
James Hurst is "that guy."
He's the first offensive lineman that Clowney will face, the initial statement to be made in Clowney's campaign for a Heisman and numerous other awards.
Hurst knows it, Clowney knows it, and everybody else knows it.
Hurst will have his hands full, as Clowney is the best player he has ever faced, and the entire offseason has been loaded with Clowney news from start to finish.
If anyone can slow down South Carolina's superman, it will be Hurst.
He earned All-ACC honors last season, helping anchor an offense that set school records for total offense, scoring and passing yards.
He will be Clowney's first test, and a good one.