Clowney checks in as top 'Freak'

Bruce Feldman has unveiled his annual list of "Freaks," which is his look at the 20 craziest athletes in college football.

Guess who's No. 1 on that list?

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has redefined what a "freak" is in football. As Feldman notes, Clowney ran a 4.54 40-yard dash this spring weighing 275 pounds and also recorded a 38-inch vertical leap.

There just aren't many of those guys walking around on the planet anywhere.

But what sets Clowney apart is his explosive first step, especially at that size.

Joe Connolly, the Gamecocks' strength and conditioning coordinator, told Feldman that Clowney has also become a harder worker.

"The difference is he sees the light at the end of the tunnel," Connolly said. "He's always been an average worker. But when you see, 'The draft before my draft is now done,' he's kind of flipped the switch. There's no question he's been very upfront and forward about the different things he wants to accomplish this year, and he realizes that strength and conditioning is a very important factor to getting to those goals."

Clowney was one of six players from the SEC on Feldman's list of "Freaks."

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was No. 6, Mississippi State linebacker Benardrick McKinney No. 8, Arkansas center Travis Swanson No. 11, Ole Miss receiver Donte Moncrief No. 13 and Auburn fullback Jay Prosch No. 20.

Among those who just missed the cut were Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison and Vanderbilt defensive tackle Vince Taylor.