South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney's Heisman Chances in 2013

By Patrick Schmidt
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will win the 2013 Heisman trophy–if he can meet this criteria–if he does then he will be the first primary defensive player to take home the little stiff-armed bronze statue in the award’s history.

1. Record at least 20 sacks. Leading the nation in sacks won’t be good enough and needs to get to an eye-popping number to garner consideration over the offensive players that will have gaudy statistics to boost their Heisman resumes. 20 sacks looks like a lot more than 19, doesn’t it?

2. He must play big in marquee games at Georgia, vs. Florida and vs. Clemson. Racking up five-six sacks in these games and making impact plays like forcing fumbles, tipping passes and making a living in the team’s backfield will generate more momentum for his campaign on these nationally televised games. The Georgia game is the second of the season and a big performance early will serve as a catalyst to the “Clowney for Heisman” campaign.

3. South Carolina needs to play in the SEC Championship Game. Winning will be icing on the cake, but his team’s success plays a large factor in the individual honor. Getting to the game will serve as more exposure and more time to talk about Clowney and the extra game will give him another 60 minutes to boost his stats.

I have no doubt in my mind that if Clowney would be the first pick in the 2013 draft if the true sophomore were eligible. Heck, he would have been a first-round pick out of high school he is that talented and imposing.

Clowney had 13 sacks, which tied for third in the nation despite playing with injury for stretches this season. He was a one-man wrecking crew vs. Clemson when the 6-6 256-pound defensive end had 4.5 sacks in the win, and his hit in the Outback Bowl was among the plays of the year when he nearly decapitated Michigan running back Vincent Smith.

Those three criteria are what Clowney can control and if he does what he is fully capable of he will at the minimum get an invite to the Heisman ceremony. If he does meet the three criteria, then he’ll make history.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” on airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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