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Jadeveon Clowney says he ‘didn’t practice real hard’ last year

Jadeveon ClowneyJadeveon Clowney entered the college football season regarded as by far the best player in the sport, a lock to be the No. 1 overall draft pick in the NFL, and a potential Heisman Trophy candidate. But in the mind of most people, the all-world defensive lineman has disappointed this season. Part of that is because he hasn’t made the huge plays that got him national recognition in the first place — like his massive hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith. Part of it might be because unlike quarterbacks, running backs and receivers who always have the ball, it’s harder to see the impact of a defensive lineman. But Clowney has legitimately given critics plenty of other reasons to doubt him this season.

There were questions about Clowney’s conditioning following South Carolina’s opener against North Carolina. Then there were questions about his desire after he sat out an early October game against Kentucky. And now we may have to add questions about his work ethic to the list.

In an interview with The New York Times, Clowney admitted that his practice habits weren’t very good last year.

“My practice habits have picked up way more than they did last year,” Clowney told The Times. “Last year, I really didn’t practice real hard. This year, I came in with a different mind-set, like I want to be that guy, I want to have no flaws in my game.”

There are certainly two takeaways from that. One, it’s great that Clowney wants to up his game and perfect himself as a player. That’s the type of thing you hear guys like LeBron say. On the other hand, it’s somewhat alarming that he wasn’t practicing really hard last year. Maybe that’s because he knew he was great and felt like he didn’t have to push himself.

I still think very highly of Clowney, but between this quote, his conditioning questions, and not playing against Kentucky, I don’t view him as a lock to be a Hall of Famer the way I did last year. He’s going to need to go to the right NFL team and have a coach who will push him to maximize his ability.

Helmet smack to College Football Talk

Steve Spurrier was irritated Jadeveon Clowney sat out against Kentucky (Video)

Jadeveon-ClowneySouth Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney missed Saturday’s 35-28 win over Kentucky with a rib injury. Clowney did not practice on Thursday because his ribs were hurting, and he decided at the last second that he would be unable to go against the Wildcats. Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier seemed very frustrated by that.

After the win, Spurrier was asked about the status of Clowney’s injury.

“I would just say he told me he couldn’t play,” Spurrier told reporters, via ESPN.com. “That his ribs hurt, couldn’t run, and said ‘I can’t play.’ I said that’s fine, you don’t have to play and we’ll move on. And he may not be able to play next week, I don’t know. But we’re not going to worry about it, I can assure you that.”

Spurrier certainly didn’t sound like a coach who was being supportive of an injured player. The Ole Ball Coach stressed several times that it was Clowney’s choice to sit out.

“If he wants to play, we’ll welcome him to come play for the team if he wants to,” Spurrier added. “But if he doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to play. Simple as that.”

Spurrier added that the team was under the impression that Clowney was going to play but was informed the team “right before the game” that he wasn’t suiting up.

Clowney is expected to be one of the top picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. At one point, people wondered if he should considering sitting out the 2013 season to protect himself from injury and wait it out until he was eligible for the NFL. Clowney scoffed at that notion, but Spurrier did little to help the junior prove he is not afraid of getting injured on Saturday.

Jadeveon Clowney downplays lack of conditioning talk

Jadeveon-Clowney-conditioningSouth 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.

Autograph broker linked to Johnny Manziel has Jadeveon Clowney items for sale

Jadeveon-Clowney-autographed-ball

Johnny Manziel is currently under NCAA investigation to determine if he took money in exchange for autographs. Johnny Football may be the most polarizing figure in college athletics, but that doesn’t mean he’s the only one whose autographs are being sold.

Busted Coverage did a bit of poking around on eBay and determined that one of the memorabilia dealers, the_hub_collectibles, who is selling 19 items that were autographed by Manziel on eBay is also selling 19 items that were signed by South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and 11 that were signed by Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. All of the items are PSA/DNA certified and include a photo of a certificate of authenticity along with them.

[Read more...]

Steve Spurrier tired of all the Jadeveon Clowney talk

Steve SpurrerIt didn’t take Steve Spurrier long to get into a grumpy mood.

The South Carolina Gamecocks head coach is already closing practice in response to the excess attention the football team has received. When the team opened practice on Friday, Spurrier said the first week of practice would be open to the media and fans. But there have been so many fans looking for autographs and taking videos and pictures that Spurrier decided to close things to the public, Josh Kendall of The State reports.

In particular, Spurrier seems perturbed with all the talk surrounding defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney, who is considered the best player in the country. Spurrier had to yell at Clowney for being slowed by autograph seekers on his way to the practice field recently, and he’s tired of all the media focus being on Clowney instead of the team.

“You know, we have talked about Jadeveon for seven months after that hit,” Spurrier said on Sunday. “He and Johnny Football (Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel), they are the only two guys in America anybody has talked about it seems like — Jadeveon’s hit and Johnny’s adventures all over the country. I think Jadeveon is tired of everybody talking about him. He’s ready for team, and hopefully what our team can achieve this year. We all know he’s a super player, but it’s a team sport.”

“He’s tired of [the questions], and I think I am tired of it. We are just trying to get more into team stuff.”

While Spurrier is tired of all the Clowney hype, the team’s defensive coordinator, Lorenzo Ward, said he is not tired of the Clowney talk and that the lineman deserves the praise.

For his part, Clowney says no attention bothers him.

Spurrier may want to shift the focus away from Clowney and onto the entire team, but he should know the media is all about star players. He has the future No. 1 overall draft pick on his team. That comes with a territory.

Mark Richt: Jadeveon Clowney is best football player in the world

Jadeveon Clowney hitSouth Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is widely recognized as the top player in college football. He would have been the top pick in the NFL draft had he been eligible last year, and he’s the heavy favorite to go first overall next year.

As much as people have praised Clowney’s ability, nobody took it as far as Georgia head coach Mark Richt did on Monday.

According to Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph, Richt was asked during a UGA Day fan event who’s harder to game plan for: Johnny Manziel or Clowney.

“I would think it would be tougher to gameplan Johnny Manziel,” Richt said.

According to Emerson, Richt quickly added a remark about Clowney.

“I would say Clowney is the best football player in the world though. Seriously. I think he might be the very best player who exists today, at any level.”

Look, Clowney’s talents are not a secret. The guy made probably the best hit in a game any of us have ever seen. He’s making a run at the NCAA sack record. Jay-Z supposedly is already recruiting him to sign with his agency. But calling Clowney the best player in the world is stronger praise than we’ve ever heard. That would mean he’s better than DeMarcus Ware and J.J. Watt to name a few top defensive lineman in the NFL. That would mean he’s better than Aaron Rodgers and Adrian Peterson, too.

I wouldn’t go as far as Richt did with my praise, but I’d feel comfortable calling Clowney one of the best five or 10 defensive linemen in the world.

Jay-Z reportedly recruiting Jadeveon Clowney for Roc Nation Sports

Jadeveon-Clowney-Aaron-MurrayIt’s safe to assume that every young superstar athlete will at some point be recruited by Roc Nation Sports, if they haven’t already been contacted. The list has ranged from proven veterans like Robinson Cano to rookie sensations like Yasiel Puig, and a recent report says Jay-Z has turned his attention toward the best player in college football.

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is expected to go somewhere within the first few picks of the 2014 NFL Draft. He is likely going to make a lot of money both on the field and off of it, which is why Roc Nation would love to represent him.

The potential problem that could arise from this is that Jay-Z is not yet a certified NFL agent. He is not allowed to have direct contact with college players, let alone “regular contact.” Current NFL agents will surely be looking for ways to thwart Jay-Z’s alleged efforts, and this could be one of them.

Jay-Z recently stated that he is a problem for sports agents, and for the most part he’s right. He boasted about taking Cano from Scott Boras in a rap song and is clearly looking to build an empire filled with star athletes. So far, he has found substantial success.

H/T Pro Football Zone