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June 1, 2010
No. 1 prospect Clowney makes it look easy
MORE: The Rivals100 | Breaking down the five-stars
Just watch the tape.
Take a break for a few minutes - make sure the boss isn't looking - and watch Jadeveon Clowney's junior highlight film. Watch him come off the edge and pulverize the quarterback. Watch him power his way past two blockers and drag the opponent down in the backfield.
The Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe defensive end is oftentimes in the backfield so quickly plays don't have time to develop. Quarterbacks and running backs are hit so hard and so fast by Clowney that it's a surprise some pop right back up.
Rivals.com rated Clowney No. 1 in its first 2011 class rankings that were released Tuesday. There was not much debate after seeing him in person, watching the film and accepting the fact that he is an extraordinarily special football player.
"He has a defensive end's body with wide receiver speed," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. "There are a couple plays on his film where you can just see him run down wide receivers from 40 yards behind. He has absolute blazing speed, straight-ahead speed.
"He has really long arms, great explosion off the edge and he's probably one of the most disruptive defensive linemen that you're going to see on film ever."
Clowney tracks people down - fast wide receivers and running backs - with speed and length that is unmatched on the high school level.
He's athletic and quick but still hits hard. He's fast but can bull-rush, too. Clowney, who had 65 tackles and 12 sacks in his junior season, is the complete package.
"If he's not going to get to the quarterback, he's going to pressure him," Farrell said. "If he's not going to pressure him, he's going to get his hands in the air and alter the throw. If you try to run on him he's too long to get around at times.
"The only effective way is to run straight at him in power football because he's still light. But once he adds weight and doesn't lose any of that speed and athleticism, he's going to be a freak. He's a Julius Peppers-type of talent."
South Pointe coach Bobby Carroll compared Clowney to Jevon Kearse. That's a heady comparison, but no one seems to disagree with it or say it's much of a stretch. Clowney is that talented and loaded with potential.
"With Clowney you're really getting a kid that's as physically impressive of a defensive lineman as we've seen in a long time," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barton Simmons said. "He's got a great frame, a great football body and he's incredibly explosive off the snap.
"He has great athleticism off the edge and with his size and speed is really a nightmare scenario for an offensive lineman to try to block.
"Having that kind of speed in a body like that is really rare. When you couple those things together, that really sets him apart. He's physically capable of doing all the damage at the point of attack but then he can chase down running backs, chase down quarterbacks. He's scary in pursuit."
Clowney has South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama atop his offer list. Where does Clowney end up playing his college football? The consensus seems to be that South Carolina is the team to beat for multiple reasons: Clowney might want to stay closer to home, the Gamecocks have developed good relationships and former South Pointe standouts Stephon Gilmore and DeVonte Holloman play there.
"This looks like it's going to be a potential Marcus Lattimore situation where everybody assumes he's going to South Carolina, they predict he's going to South Carolina, there are rumors he's already committed to South Carolina and then he's going to look at a few other schools, fall in love with some schools and then end up at South Carolina," Farrell said.
"Stephon Gilmore and DeVonte Holloman both come from South Pointe, they were both four-star prospects two years ago, so there is a great connection to South Carolina and there has been a lot of speculation on that's where he's going to end up."
Wherever he ends up, he appears destined to make an impact.