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Jadeveon Clowney eyes Heisman

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Jadeveon Clowney eyes Heisman

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's goal is to be sitting in New York next December as one of the finalists for the Heisman Trophy.

"I believe a defensive player can win the Heisman next year," Clowney said.

Actually, he believes he can win it.

"That's my next thing, New York," Clowney said Monday night after the Gamecock's practice. "Next season, I am going to come out and try to work harder than I did this season and try to get there."

The consensus All-American was the Hendricks Award winner this year as the best defensive end in college. He finished sixth in the Heisman voting; Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel won it. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was second and Clowney hopes he can become the first defensive player since Michigan's Charles Woodson in 1997 to win college football's most prestigious individual honor.

Clowney, the Southeastern Conference's sacks leader with 13, took large strides forward this season and Gamecocks defensive line coach Brad Lawing expects that to continue. Clowney is a homebody, Lawing said, who'd rather be with family and friends in his hometown of Rock Hill than jetting around the country and smiling for cameras.

Clowney told Lawing at the College Football Awards show in Orlando, Fla., he was simply happy to be nominated and wasn't concerned about trophies.

“I believe a defensive player can win the Heisman next year. ... That's my next thing, New York. Next season, I am going to come out and try to work harder than I did this season and try to get there.” -- South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney

"It will to you next year, I promise you," Lawing responded.

Clowney, 6-foot-6 and 256 pounds, was the country's top college prospect coming out of South Pointe High. Lawing remembers recruiting Clowney's high school teammates DeVonte Holloman and Stephon Gilmore -- a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills last spring -- when prep coach Bobby Carroll said there was a 15-year-old Lawing had to watch.

Lawing rolled through hours of tape at the high school and was amazed at Clowney's skill. "Tell him he's got a scholarship" to South Carolina, Lawing told Carroll.

Clowney was wooed by the country's powerhouse programs and selected South Carolina over finalists Alabama and Clemson on Valentine's Day 2011.

Clowney, though, was not an instant success. His technique was ragged and desire to work hard was inconsistent. He and Lawing butted heads plenty during Clowney's freshman season.

"Sometimes when you're 18, 19 years old, you think you know everything," Lawing said.

Clowney's commitment to get better increased this past offseason. He spent more time watching film, refining technique and studying the game. The results were evident.

He consistently beat double teams, often leaping opposing players to cause havoc in the backfield. Clowney's best game this year came in the regular-season finale, a virtuoso showing of 4½ sacks of Clemson star Tajh Boyd in the 27-17 victory over the rival Tigers.

The performance resonated with people outside of South Carolina, too.

"Everywhere we went people were talking about that game," Clowney said.

Clowney's got a combination of size, speed and maturity that would make him the No. 1 draft pick in April if he were eligible, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said last week. "I don't think there would be any doubt about that," Kiper said.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has long said Clowney would and should leave after his junior season as a likely first-round selection.

"He's gotten a lot of attention and he's handled it well, handled it very well," Spurrier said. "We all know he's a three-year player, which is fine."

Clowney's got goals to achieve, Lawing says. He's just eight sacks away from catching Eric Norwood for the school's all-time leading sacks mark of 29. Plus, Clowney would love bettering the single-season school marks of 13 sacks and 21½ tackles for loss he's put up so far this year.

Spurrier, the 1966 Heisman winner, voted Clowney first on his ballot ahead of Manziel and Te'o. But Spurrier knows it would take a mega-season for Clowney to overcome the game's offensive stars who may vie for next year's Heisman.

Clowney smiles when asked if he's capable of pulling off that feat.

"It's a possibility," he said. "I just keep playing my game, and I probably have a shot at winning next year."

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News

  • Looks like Heisman

    by Featheredcock Oct 03 2013 02:55 AM

    Looks like Heisman hopes are a thing of the past for Jadeveon Clowney. Will be hard for a defensive player to win the Heisman...

    (Read More) 0 Comments


  • Experts predict Jadeveon Clowney to win Heisman Trophy
    08/01/13

    With the college football season rapidly approaching, college football previews are coming out left and right and everyone is giving their predictions for awards and honors. The CBS Sports staff recently gave their predictions for SEC awards, along with some bold predictions, and Jadeveon Clowney was mentioned early and often.

    As you would expect, Clowney was the overwhelming pick for SEC Defensive Player of the Year, but one writer picked him to receive a much bigger honor.

    Bruce Feldman’s “bold prediction” was that Clowney would become the first full-time defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy.

     

    Feldman wrote:

     

    In 2013, for the first time ever, a defensive lineman will win the Heisman. Jadeveon Clowney is that special and the era of social media and 24-hour sports news cycle will help keep people buzzing about him.


    If there was ever a time for a defender to win the Heisman, this would be it.

    Clowney is as dominating of a player as you can get at the college level and he has plenty of h...

    (Read More) 1 Comments


  • Clowney top Heisman candidate in SEC; 'The Hit' nominated for ESPY
    06/28/13



    COLUMBIA, SC — Johnny Manziel is the defending Heisman Trophy winner, but he is not the favorite SEC player to win the trophy in 2013. That distinction belongs to Jadeveon Clowney, according to Athlon Magazine.


    SEC players have won four of the past six Heismans and the trend could continue in 2013.


    Athlon’s top 10 Heisman candidates in the SEC:


    1. Jadeveon Clowney, USC DE: Most physically gifted player in nation

    2. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M QB: Odds of repeating are 1-in-77

    3. Aaron Murray, Georgia QB: Close to career SEC passing records

    4. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama RB: Backups rushed for 1,000 yards, 10 TDs

    5.Todd Gurley, Georgia RB: Led SEC RBs in rushing with 17 TDs

    6. AJ McCarron, Alabama QB: Two-time defending BCS champion

    7. C.J. Mosley, Alabama LB: Top LB prospect for NFL draft

    8. Jeff Driskel, Florida QB: Flashed brilliance as a runner, passer

    9. Ben Malena, Texas A&M RB: Sleeper pick for monster season

    10. Amari Cooper, Alabama WR: Few have more explosive first step


    Playing an arguably large part in Clowney's rise is "The Hit," his take-down of Michigan's unfortunate Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl. Video of the massive tackle...

    (Read More) 1 Comments


  • Clowney a constant in Heisman talk
    Published: June 19, 2013

     

    USC defensive end Jadeveon Clowney continues to receive prominent mention in preseason Heisman Trophy speculation. NFL Network draft guru Gil Brandt has Clowney fifth on his list of preseason Heisman candidates.

    Brandt picks Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron as the frontrunner, followed by three other quarterbacks -- Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.

    Meanwhile, SI.com’s Stewart Mandel says of Clowney’s Heisman chances: “. . . it will be interesting to follow Clowney's candidacy in 2013. No defensive player in recent memory has entered a season with this much buzz, due in large part to the hype that's surrounded him since he was a recruit and which exploded following his epic Outback Bowl hit on Michigan's Vincent Smith.

    “Like the past four winners, he'll need to produce on the field, which in his case likely means matching or exceeding last year's total of 13 sacks. South Carolina will also need to be an SEC title contender or else he'll fall out of the spotlight. More likely, though, a new and unexpected flavor of the month will emerge and capture the nation's attention. Yes, he'll have to earn it on the field -- but having a catchy nickname (like Johnny Football) or moving backstory (like Manti Te’o) won't hurt.

    (Read More) 0 Comments


  • Players who could keep Johnny Manziel from another Heisman – No. 5, Jadeveon Clowney
    05/21/13


    This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.

    PLAYERS WHO COULD KEEP JOHNNY MANZIEL FROM ANOTHER HEISMAN

    NO. 5, JADEVEON CLOWNEY


    We'd like to put South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney higher. He's likely the best player in college football regardless of position. Anyone who really understands football appreciates how good he is, and how he impacts games.

    But let's be honest. History says voters are incapable of giving the Heisman Trophy to a purely defensive player.

    Charles Woodson would not have won the award without playing some offense and returning punts for Michigan in 1997. We don't think Clowney will be doing either in 2013 (though he did have that catch in the spring game ... ).

    The first Heisman Trophy was given out in 1935, and since then there hasn't been one winner who has played exclusively on defense. It's literally inconceivable that through all those decades, not once was a defensive player the most outstanding in the sport over a season. But not one has ev...

    (Read More) 0 Comments