No Clowney around: South Carolina star makes a point to be freak on field, not Internet
by Marq Burnett
Jul 16, 2013 | 2435 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney at SEC Media Days. (Photo by Dave Martin/Associated Press)
South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney at SEC Media Days. (Photo by Dave Martin/Associated Press)
HOOVER — South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney says he hasn’t been able to leave his house without being recognized since his junior year of high school. He’s one of the Southeastern Conference’s media darlings.

Rarely does he receive any negative publicity, however.

That’s because, as he puts it, he avoids attention. He hangs out with the same three guys he grew up with, doesn’t drink or party and, more importantly, says he stays off the Internet.

“I don’t post pictures. I don’t tweet. I just stay off the internet,” Clowney said Tuesday during Day 1 of SEC Media Days at the Wynfrey Hotel. “If you stay off the Internet, you limit yourself halfway. Just stay off the Internet.

“Nobody hears about me. I stay to myself really.”

But people do hear about Clowney. Rather, they hear about his nearly decapitating a Michigan running back.

Or analysts throwing around the notion of him sitting out the entire season to avoid an injury.

Or even running a freakishly fast 4.46-second time in the 40-yard dash, which he confirmed.

About that 40 time. Clowning said he was playing video games with his roommate around 1 a.m. the night before and told him that he was going to run a 4.4 40 the next morning.

Clowney said his roommate didn’t believe the 6-foot-6, 270-pound behemoth could move that quickly. However, he could, and he did.

“I think they had the laser out there. All the coaches (timed it),” he said.

In his sophomore season, Clowney recorded 54 tackles, 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss.

Statistics may not do justice to his impact on South Carolina’s program. He demands a double team, sometimes triple team.

He brings notoriety to the program with the mountain of media attention he receives.

He’s the most important player on the Gamecocks team, and Coach Steve Spurrier knows it.

“Jadeveon Clowney is a disruptive player that every offense has to sort of change their blocking assignments to account for,” Spurrier said. “He’s a very good player. He’s ready to go.

“If we’re going to have a good year, Jadeveon has to make a lot of those big plays. He’s made a lot of big ones the first two years at South Carolina.”

Clowney is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, if he decides to bypass his senior season. Some pro football draft analysts say he would have been the No. 1 pick had he been eligible after his sophomore year.

He wasn’t, so opposing offensive coordinators have (at least) one more year to cringe at the thought of scheming for Clowney.

Florida coach Will Muschamp acknowledged Clowney’s greatness. Muschamp was asked where he would rank Clowney and cut the reporter off saying, “No. 1.”

Would Muschamp like to see Clowney win the Heisman?

“I’d like to see (Clowney) come out (and declare for the NFL draft) early before our game,” Muschamp said. “He’s an outstanding player.

“He’s a guy you better account for every snap. He’s an explosive guy. Got great football instincts, initial quickness. He’s got power. He’s a guy that can play finesse on the edge and power. He’s a really, really good football player.”

So, by Muschamp’s assessment, Clowney can do it all. Except maybe play offense?

“We got a bunch of offensive players that are pretty good,” Spurrier said. “He played a little bit in high school, though.

“He’s capable. He’s capable of running with the ball, but that wouldn’t make sense — running with a ball, sprain an ankle, be standing over there with me the rest of the season. That wouldn’t be very smart. He’s pretty good about staying out of pile-ups, things like that. Important for him to stay healthy.”

Marq Burnett covers Alabama for The Anniston Star. Contact him at Follow on Twitter @Marq_Burnett.
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