South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney enters the 2013 season with huge expectations. After an impressive freshman season and a stellar follow-up sophomore campaign, Clowney is regarded by many as the best player in the country and the likely No.1 overall draft pick should he choose to enter next year’s NFL Draft.
Clowney has been a major factor in South Carolina’s continued emergence as a contending team in the SEC East. The Gamecocks have won 11 games both of Clowney’s first two seasons, although they haven’t reached the SEC championship game since 2010, the season before the standout pass rusher enrolled at USC.
Clowney will bring huge expectations for both an impressive individual season and a winning season for the Gamecocks. Although he has been in the spotlight since being named the unanimous No.1 overall high school prospect by multiple recruiting websites, Clowney will get his first true test of his highly publicized junior season as he takes the podium for SEC Media Days this week in Hoover, Ala.
It may be fortunate for Clowney that the conference will also feature reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, who is coming off yet another controversial offseason scandal. Manziel may garner the most attention, but Clowney is definitely a close second.
When Clowney interacts with the SEC media this week, it will be a small preview of the next several months of his life. He will go from college football standout to the most talked about player at his level by next April.
Throughout the season, Clowney will be watched intently by college football fans and NFL fans hopeful he will declare and help their ailing teams next season. Following the NCAA season, he will likely declare and be the most talked about player between the combine and the actual draft.
The South Carolina football program has likely prepared Clowney for his inevitable media spotlight. This week’s SEC Media Days will be the beginning of the major spotlight focused on Jadeveon Clowney that will follow him to the NFL Draft next season.