South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is everyone’s favorite choice to be the top overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft, but his performance against North Carolina on Thursday night was fairly average. Clowney had only three tackles and did not record a sack. While it’s tough to measure the impact of the best defensive lineman in the country using only a stat sheet, Clowney clearly looked fatigued at times.
The Gamecocks held the Tar Heels to just 10 points in a 27-10 victory, but Clowney has been heavily criticized for wearing down. As you can see at the end of the video above, there were clearly some plays where he did not give much effort at all. After the game, Clowney admitted he and his teammates were tired.
“They just got a fast tempo and got the defense going sideline to sideline, which was a good game plan” Clowney explained. “Get us tired up front. First game of the season, we struggle every first to get in shape. It’s gonna get better every week.”
After admitting fatigue was a factor, Clowney turned his attention to the bottom line.
“You see how many total yards they had?” Clowney asked. “They put up 400 or 500 every game last year and we held them to have of that, so I’ve got hats off to my defense. Even though we were tired we still came out their and did our job. As long as we get the win that’s all that matters to me.”
Perhaps we expect Clowney to be in midseason form when most players aren’t, but the overreaction following Thursday night’s game was a bit much. I don’t know if we can label Clowney a “lazy” player based on that game. As this unlucky soul reminds us on at least one highlight reel a week, Clowney has a motor like no other.Google+