When you look at plays like the one below, you probably find yourself wondering just how dang fast South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney really is.
Well, if ESPN.com’s Tom Rinaldi is correct, the All-American and future #1 NFL pick ran a 4.5 40-yard dash during Carolina’s winter workouts. This for a guy who’s 6-6, 272 pounds according to the Gamecocks’ official website.
According to the Yahoo! Sports’ Dr. Saturday blog, only 22 players at the recent NFL combine ran a faster time than Clowney. None were defensive linemen.
Now normally would we say two things about Clowney’s reported 40-time. First, all it takes is a friendly trigger on the stopwatch to help someone’s time. Second, football isn’t run on a track, it’s played on turf, in pads, with a lot of other guys running at and around you. But we’ll not make those points in relation to Clowney because we know that he does play just fast on the field. You saw it above. And if you follow recruiting, you probably remember the first play from Clowney’s highlight reel below, too.
Clowney is as much a freak at the defensive end position as Randy Moss was as a receiver. If his career progresses as everyone believes it will, folks will be saying “this end reminds me of Clowney,” the way they’ve said it about wideouts and Moss for a decade. And we’re talking about on-field athletic ability, not off-field tomfoolery.
The Gamecocks’ star is now back on the field despite all the recent hubbub over whether he should play in 2013 or sit out and protect himself for next spring’s NFL draft. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward says his pupil has areas of his game that need improving. He shared his views with Clowney and his parents after Carolina’s Outback Bowl victory over Michigan.
“It wasn’t an issue with them. It wasn’t an issue with us. That’s why he’s out here practicing…
If I get him to play 100% every time, he might be unstoppable. If he wants to be the number one player picked in the draft, he’s got to play hard. He understands that.”
If Clowney is able to improve his game from his sophomore season to his junior year we might finally see a full-time defensive player win the Heisman Trophy. Having seen what he’s already done on the field in the toughest conference in the country, who could argue?