South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadaveon Clowney is quickly establishing himself as one of the best, and most feared defensive players in all of college football. Clowney’s hits are building their own legend, one pulverizing pop at a time.
There’s little doubt that the 6’6″, 250 pound Clowney will be roaming NFL sidelines in 2014– there’s no way in my mind he plays four seasons in Columbia– so we should all enjoy his exploits while we can.
Clowney’s decapitation of Michigan Wolverines running back Vincent Smith this afternoon in the Outback Bowl may be his most devastating hit so far:
The way Clowney just basically ignores any potential blockers, shedding them to get into the backfield and deliver a straight-on pop on Smith is a thing of beauty. There are few offensive linemen in the SEC– or, apparently anywhere else– that can prevent the stud sophomore from doing exactly what he wants when he wants.
It’s hard to think of a sophomore with this much raw athleticism and power in quite some time– especially on the defensive side of the ball. There have been plenty of 19-year olds at skill positions that have been impact players, but we don’t see it nearly as often on the defensive side of the ball. When you think of guys like Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller, or maybe Jason Pierre-Paul you have a decent comparison point, but even among that group, Clowney could end up being better than them all.