Jadeveon Clowney battles the heat in week one

Jadeveon Clowney struggled with the heat in week one

Jadeveon Clowney is a once in a generation physical talent. At 6-7, 270lbs with unnatural speed, he’s an obvious tip to go #1 overall next year. Even a team like Oakland — badly in need of a quarterback and with a decent chance of owning the top pick in 2014 — will find it hard to pass on Clowney.

But in tonight’s college football opener, he struggled to have much of an impact in difficult conditions.

Overall South Carolina handled UNC with relative ease. They dominated up front on both sides of the ball.

All eyes were on Clowney.

Unsurprisingly, so were the cameras. It’s going to be difficult to watch the Gamecocks this year on today’s evidence. The broadcast followed Clowney around until you were sick of the sight of him. We saw him rushing the passer, sitting down, in conversation, contemplating his next meal. We can only be grateful he didn’t require a bathroom break.

And when we saw him struggling in the hot conditions, we heard the backlash. The guy who was supposed to be this unbeatable dominating force was being usurped by the weather.

As North Carolina mounted a long drive to start the third quarterback, Clowney and the rest of the line started to struggle. But because all the focus was on Clowney, suddenly he was being singled out for criticism.

I’m not here to defend the guy too much. At times it looked ugly as he dragged himself off the field for a breather. At one point he was loafing onto the field as UNC were snapping the ball. For a player vaunted so much, it wasn’t a good look.

Yet it only took one look across the line to see the rest of South Carolina’s line were also lagging. And UNC’s defensive line didn’t fair any better a couple of drives later.

Clowney had a solid first half, rushing from the edge and dominating a couple of times. In one play he flew past a blocker off the edge, shrugged off a running back and pressured Brynn Renner into a risky throw. You can see what all the fuss is about. The guy will be a superstar in the NFL.

The other things is he faced almost constant double teams. Good luck throwing a blanket on him at the next level.

So I’ll ignore the heavy criticism for now. We’ll find out if there’s a genuine conditioning issue with Clowney over the next few weeks, especially after an off-season involving talk he could theoretically sit out the year. Others have questioned his work ethic in college and “specialist treatment” on campus.

He looked completely gassed in the fourth quarter. But it’s August 29th. Let’s see what he looks like in September before we jump to too many conclusions. He failed to register a sack before the game was stopped in the fourth quarter due to an electrical storm.

Other notes

– UNC’s junior receiver Mark McNeill might be one to watch. He’s 6-4 and 215lbs. McNeill didn’t play much as a sophomore but flashed a little in this game.

– I like Brynn Renner, the North Carolina quarterback, but I struggle to see him as anything more than a fringe NFL prospect.

– UNC left tackle James Hurst had a decent outing. He’s a possible early round selection at left tackle in 2014.


  1. Aaron

    Pete Prisco is a clown. I don’t use that language lightly, but in his case it’s warranted.

    • Rob Staton

      One of the few people who probably looks up to Skip Bayless.

      • Miles

        Clowney was looking a little lethargic out there. Making sweeping, asshole observations like Pete Prisco did is stretching it, but he wasn’t exactly Mr. Motor out there today, or at least he saved it for some plays.

        But Clowney still dominates guys even when he doesn’t look like he’s going full speed. That’s… really scary.

  2. Colin

    Can’t see the game. Why are we having a hard time running the football tonight?

  3. nick

    This comment would be more appropriate for your post Seahawk preseason game article.
    I think Chris Harper will be cut. I really respect your opinion. I think your wrong when you speculate that the Seahawks will retain Harper on their roster, especially when you identify a big bodied receiver ala brandon coleman as a target for the next year.
    I just cannot see them keeping Harper after this showing.

    • Kyle

      It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve cut an early 3rd day pick. Remember Mark Legree and Kris Durham?

      • Miles

        I think the thing that’s different about Harper is that he flashes a lot of potential. With Durham you would’ve thought he stepped out of a basketball game and was learning football for the first time. Harper had two pretty bad drops today, and he is by no means absolved of those, but he also had a really nice catch in the first quarter in a tight space. He constantly shows that he definitely can do what PC wants him to do; it’s just going to take some time for him to be consistent.

        Again, that’s not to say his drops weren’t disappointing and concerning, but they aren’t the end of the world and I think he will correct that as time goes by. In one or two years I think he could be a contributor. It does sting to stash him on the inactive portion of the roster for 16 games, but with what we’re getting it’s worth it.

        • Michael

          Would anyone be shocked if Harper made it through to the practice squad? I thought he was generally considered by draft followers to be a bit of a reach in the 4th round, and it’s not like he’s put a bunch of impressive preseason film together.

          I really hope either he or Ware (or both) make it onto the practice squad, since I don’t think they really have a spot on this team at the moment, but could be contributors in the near future.

          • Miles

            I’m starting to think Harper could make it to the practice squad. I’m also just realized it may make sense cut Harper now. Ultimately, the Seahawks will probably welcome Harvin back onto the roster later in the season. And who will be the player to be cut? Odds are it will be Harper anyway. Better to cut him now and see if we can’t get him on the practice squad.

  4. A. Simmons

    Quinton Patton is looking like a winning pick for Frisco. He and Colin K. seem to have good chemistry. That’s not great for us. Then again he has yet to meet the LoB.

  5. Miles

    Here are my cuts predictions, for what they’re worth. I spent the last hour racking my brain over it. 😛 I do not envy the next 36 hours-or-so for PC/JS

    Projected Cuts: Deshawn Shead, Jeron Johnson, Mike Morgan, John Lotulelei, Heath Farwell, Ron Parker, Ty Powell, Clinton McDonald, DeWayne Cherrington, Michael Brooks, Arceto Clark, Bryan Walters, Chris Harper, Phil Bates, Rishaw Johnson, Jared Smith, Ryan Seymour, Cooper Helfet, Darren Fells, Spencer Ware, Derrick Coleman

  6. JW

    I watched the game, and yeah, he looked wiped out, and was taking plays off. So did a lot of players. It was a tough game. All players, especially Line players, take plays off. It’s impossible to go all out every single play. Particularly in that heat. Clowney, by my eyes, narrowly missed two sacks by pure luck.

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