Jadeveon Clowney, the top pro prospect in in the nation, is dealing with a neck injury this spring. (Simon Bruty/SI)
By Zac Ellis
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was already rumored to be missing the Gamecocks’ April 13 spring game as a precaution against possible injury, but it now looks even less likely that Clowney will suit up. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward told reporters after Tuesday’s practice that the Gamecocks’ star might not see the field again this spring. A neck sprain kept Clowney out of Tuesday’s practice, but it didn’t sound like Ward was losing sleep over whether his defensive star would play: “Whether he goes another snap (this spring), I don’t care,” Ward said.
Based on that quote alone, it’s hard to imagine the South Carolina coaching staff wanting to risk any harm to its most important player.
This is probably the smart move for the Gamecocks and for Clowney, who is coming off a monster sophomore season in which he tied for third in the nation in sacks (13) and second in tackles for loss (23.5), finished sixth in Heisman voting and became the first sophomore to claim the Hendricks Award given to the country’s best defensive end. Had Clowney been a junior, he would likely be the consensus No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft.