If Johnny Manziel is college football’s must-watch player on offense in 2013, then South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is college football’s must-watch player on defense. But he himself will likely do nothing more than watch for the rest of USC’s spring practice.
Last week, Clowney suffered a minor neck sprain when he collided with one of his defensive teammates during a practice drill. He was still sore yesterday and team doctors decided not to clear him for Tuesday’s work.
According to GamecockCentral.com — the Rivals site covering USC — Clowney “will probably remain in street clothes for the final three workouts, including Saturday afternoon’s spring game.”
“My back and neck are hurting me, but I should be ok coming out of spring ball and should come around,” Clowney said. “We’ll have to see (about practice). That’s up to the coaches. It’s not really about being out here. It’s about learning the playbook. We put in some new stuff, so all I have to do is learn the play calls. The rest of it, I’ll catch up on.”
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward added: “His neck and back is still stiff. Whether he goes another snap (this spring), I don’t care.”
It’s expected Carolina will use its veterans only briefly during Saturday’s spring game, seizing the opportunity to focus on younger players instead.
Clowney’s profile was lifted into the stratosphere thanks in part to a remarkable play against Michigan in last year’s Outback Bowl. The play was subsequently featured on ESPN somewhere north of a million times.
Clowney was an All-American last year and is expected to be the top pick in the NFL draft next spring. There has even been talk of him being a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Earlier this year some debated whether the junior should even play this fall and risk injury. Well, sure enough, he didn’t make it through spring practice without an injury. But at least the injury is not believed to be a serious one.