University of South Carolina superstar Jadeveon Clowney got dressed up in his best plain white T-shirt for a visit to the South Carolina State House this week …
Clowney, 20, was recognized by Palmetto State lawmakers for his unanimous All-American season last year – which included AT&T National Player of the Year and SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors. The Heisman Trophy candidate recorded 23.5 tackles for loss in 2012 along with 13 sacks – both school records. And if those numbers weren’t sufficiently impressive, Clowney put an exclamation point on his season with this unforgettable hit against Michigan running back Vincent Smith in the 2013 Outback Bowl.
Bottom line? Were it not for the NFL’s rule requiring three seasons to have elapsed from a player’s high school graduation date, Clowney would have been the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. For sure …
Following his impressive 2011 campaign – in which he captured SEC Freshman of the Year honors – we discussed Clowney’s evolution and the fact he was already being compared to Lawrence Taylor, arguably the greatest defensive player in NFL history.
“Nothing against USC’s superfrosh, but we think the comparison is a bit premature,” we wrote.
Yeah … not anymore. Clowney has not only lived up to his high school hype (the Rock Hill, S.C. native was the nation’s No. 1 recruit in 2010) but he’s managed to outperform those lofty expectations.
Assuming the 6-foot-6, 270-pound junior stays healthy, his 2013 campaign could be one for the ages …
During his visit to the State House, Clowney was swarmed by politicians, photographers and autograph seekers. His appearance – which included a standing ovation from the S.C. House of Representatives – was a public relations coup for the University, which was holding a big event for legislators this week as the state’s FY 2013-14 budget process winds down.
“You would have thought the pope was up there,” one State House insider told FITS.