South Carolina All-American defensive end and highly favored 2014 No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney is expected to play for the Gamecocks this season, according to his mother, Josenna Clowney.
Josenna Clowney told SI.com Thursday that she expects her son to play, rather than sit out his junior season to avoid injury and hurt his draft stock.
“I talked to him this week, and he wants to play,” she said. “I don’t think he has it in him to sit out. He loves to play football. I know I want him to play.”
Clowney’s future has been the topic of discussion for sports talk and television shows since Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer wrote that Clowney should heavily consider sitting out his junior season and train independently for the NFL draft.
The current NFL rules prohibit players from entering the draft until three years after graduation from high school. Clowney graduated in 2011 from South Pointe High in Rock Hill, S.C., and is in his third season with the Gamecocks.
But some writers have even suggested that Clowney challenge the rule in a court of law. Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett and former USC wide receiver Mike Williams attempted to challenge the rule in 2004, but were unsuccessful.
Clowney has started participating in winter workouts with the Gamecocks. He is expected to take the field with the team for the opening of spring practice on March 5.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told ESPN Thursday night during the Gamecocks basketball game that Clowney wants to play another season to improve. Clowney, who is 6 foot 6 ½inches tall and weighs 273 pounds, had 13 ½ sacks this season.
The All-American’s biggest hit came against Michigan in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. Clowney crushed Michigan running back Vincent Smith, making him a candidate for play of the year.
“Since that hit in the Outback Bowl,” Spurrier said, “I think he’s become the No. 1 talked-about player. Maybe more than Johnny Manziel.”
South Carolina and their fans will have more to look forward to in the 2013 season from Clowney, hopefully leading them to the SEC Championship title and possibly a national championship title.