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Courtesy of Mike Pendleton
While National Signing Day was over a week ago, the world was still anticipating the decision of the No. 1 overall recruit, Jadeveon Clowney.
While the anticipation was flowing, so were rumors of visits that Clowney would be “taking” and which schools were front runners to land the nation’s best player.
A few days following Signing Day, the nation was aware that Clowney’s final three schools came down to South Carolina, Clemson and Alabama.
While many believed that the kid from South Carolina was to remain put in his home state, national-contending Alabama and Clemson, with one of the top recruiting classes, still found there to be hope for both of their football programs.
At 6’6″ and 250 pounds, with comparisons to Julius Peppers and Mario Williams, Clowney is sure to be a force at the college level. His explosiveness and speed make him hard to hold down. The talent of Clowney is not doubted, and on his birthday, Valentine’s Day, Clowney made sure that he made more South Carolina fans fall in love with him, while he had to break the hearts of the thousands, perhaps millions of Alabama and Clemson fans.
Enough of the heartbreaking—Clowney now will be providing headaches for opponents and a big-time threat for South Carolina, which finished the season with two losses in which they gave up 56 points to eventual national champion Auburn and also gave up 26 points to Florida State, which finished with the No. 1 overall 2011 recruiting class.
The Gamecocks’ offense was led this year by one of the best freshmen in the country, running back Marcus Lattimore, who rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns, adding a ground threat to the air attack led by quarterback Stephen Garcia and one of the best SEC wide receivers in Alshon Jeffery.
While the fans are very excited, so are the coaches and future teammates of Clowney, including 2011 signee Ahmad Christian.
In an interview following Clowney’s decision, Christian, a defensive back, said, “He’ll mean a lot right away. Everybody knows he’s a great asset to any defense he joins, and he will be a great addition to the South Carolina defense for sure.”
With Clowney and plenty of others, including Christian, coming in to help upgrade a defense that in turn will help out the Gamecocks’ high-powered offense, Christian said, “He will cause a lot of three-and-outs, so the offense will have more opportunities to put more points on the board.”
One thing is for sure: Clowney is happy to have this decision made, as he can now work on being the best player he can be for coach Steve Spurrier. The Gamecocks’ entire football program is happy to have Clowney, and while fans are rejoicing, opponents are now fearing. The South Carolina Gamecocks can now be considered a dark horse or even a front runner to run the SEC and hopefully journey to the national championship.