The only mistake that Jadeveon Clowney made was coming back to Columbia for another season with the Gamecocks. He was asked numerous times if he was just going to step aside or put on the pads and play this year.
He should’ve just worked out like a madman and skipped this season.
I don’t have a problem with Clowney having a strained rib muscle, an injury, which many people have described as questionable. I don’t have a problem with him informing coach Steve Spurrier that he wouldn’t play even though the ‘Ole Ball Coach was clearly surprised when asked about it following the 13th-ranked Gamecocks narrow seven-point win over an overmatched Kentucky team that only has one win — against Miami of Ohio.
“If he wants to play, we will welcome him to come play for the team if he wants,” a noticeably frustrated Spurrier said after the game.
Recently, Spurrier has backpedaled, with script in hand, as a way not to tick off one of the most talented defensive players he’s ever coached.
This is the elephant in the room that the NCAA needs to be afraid of. It isn’t academic scandals, illicit recruiting tactics or even monetary gains. It’s the fact that smart kids are becoming their own agent with an eye toward the future.
Both of ESPN’s draft gurus Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have Clowney as the No. 1 prospect in next May’s draft. Clowney is set to sign a mega million-dollar deal and he doesn’t want a simple nick to turn into a career-ending injury all because some kid got the best of him on a play that will run on an endless loop on SportsCenter.
Clowney’s love for the game has been questioned several times already this season. Many have said that his passion was running on fumes in the season opener in which he clearly looked tired on a very hot and muggy night in late August.
That may be true, but how jacked up would you be when you knew that in a few months an NFL team would be picking you at the very least, in the top five?
This storm has been circulating for awhile now and with the added Johnny Manziel thunder, the NCAA itself is under the microscope. Not just paying players, but when athletes can choose to leave college to begin an aspiring pro career.
What Clowney did takes a lot of guts. He informed his coach after he had been introduced in the starting lineups. Now I understand Spurrier being bummed or even a tinge fiery, but he knows he cannot do anything about it.
Clowney has a reason to have a semi truck full of trepidation. He saw fellow teammate and running back Marcus Lattimore get injured for the season on Oct. 27 last year. And despite that, Lattimore was still ranked as the 138th best running back last year and was fortunate to get drafted as a flier project by the 49ers.
The scary thing is, Clowney is better. His speed and hitting power remind me of Lawrence Taylor. And everyone knows that LT may have been the best defensive player to play in the NFL only because he changed the position.
Clowney has no need to aplogize. He’s doing what any person with eyes on a long term investment would do: you protect the investment at all costs. Obviously, if Clowney is a second or third rounder, I doubt he’s missing a game because he still has plenty to prove.
Clowney gave us all an unforgettable season last year, which of course was topped off by the “The Hit” against Michigan in the Outback Bowl.
South Carolina fans are going to feel slighted by its biggest star electing not to play. But does a simple SEC win outweigh the potential pitfalls, which would ultimately mean millions of dollars lost?
I don’t think so and Clowney the agent doesn’t think so either.
To contact Cory Jennerjohn e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him Twitter: @CoryJennerjohn