Friday, November 23, 2012
SEC: Who will transform tomorrow?
By Edward Aschoff
It's not like South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is playing poorly. He already has 17 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, but he's been a little quiet in recent weeks.
He was out last week with a sprained foot/bruised knee and tallied just two tackles for loss and no sacks two weeks ago against Arkansas.
But his nagging injuries won't keep Clowney from being his normal beastly self on Saturday against archrival Clemson. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said earlier this week that he expects Clowney to return, and he expects him to be his old self. This is a chance to knock South Carolina's biggest rival out of BCS position, and Clowney will be more than ready to play, even if he isn't 100 percent. The dominant Clowney that offensive players have come to know and hate will return inside Death Valley.
Clemson sports one of the nation's best offenses, generating 535 yards a game. The Tigers have given up 20 sacks on the season, but Clowney will make quarterback Tajh Boyd's day miserable. Last year, Clowney registered just one sack and one quarterback hurry against Clemson. But with a bigger role and more of a presence on South Carolina's defense, he'll be much more disruptive and much more of a nuisance for the Tigers' offensive line.
Clowney is considered one of the best defensive players in the SEC. Really, he's considered one of the nation's best defenders, regardless of position. He has freakish ability, a ton of speed and plenty of strength. He can line up at multiple spots and will terrorize Clemson's backfield all day because this is a huge game for the Gamecocks and he dislikes the Tigers just much as they dislike him.
It's the final game of the season, and Clowney will make one final statement before the postseason.
The week off gave Clowney time to rest and should allow him to have a ton of energy and endurance for this game. That's not a good thing for the Tigers.