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The biggest question in college football through the first three games of the season has to be this: What’s wrong with University of South Carolina superstar Jadeveon Clowney?

After an uninspiring debut against North Carolina two weeks ago (blamed on a stomach virus), the 6-foot-6, 274-pound defensive end has looked only marginally better against SEC East rivals Georgia and Vanderbilt.

What gives? According to The (Spartanburg, S.C.) Herald-Journal, the returning All-American and single-season USC sack leader has bone spurs in his right foot – a.k.a. his liftoff engine for pass-rushing opposing quarterbacks. Eventually, he plans on having surgery to remove them.

“I’m going to get it cleaned out after the season’s over with,”  Clowney told the paper. “It only bothers me when I’m out there. It just builds up pain. The more I keep going the more it bothers me.”

Clowney says he missed last year’s game against Wofford as a result of discomfort stemming from the bone spurs – which have bothered him since high school.

“It’s painful,” Clowney said. “I’m out here playing on it though. I’m just trying to give it everything I’ve got.”

Clowney has been criticized for half-assing it on some plays – and sitting out others. For example he was on the sidelines against Vanderbilt on a critical third down play late in the fourth quarter.

Maybe now we know why …

Pic: Travis Bell Photography