Originally written on BlackSportsOnline  |  Last updated 2/11/13
I don’t know why I didn’t write this post a long time ago, but it’s all good, because I’ve been talking about it for weeks.  Since mid-season, anytime I’ve written about South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, I always stressed that he could be the #1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and any football he plays from here on out is about getting reps. Clowney is flat-out a grown monster playing a boys game.  Now Charlotte Observer columnist Tom Sorensen is suggesting that Clowney sit out the 2013 college football season to try to avoid injury. Sorensen’s point is that if Clowney played basketball, tennis, baseball, golf or any other amateur sport, he could turn pro now. Instead Clowney will return to South Carolina and risk the same type of injury former teammate and All American Marcus Lattimore suffered twice after ripping his knee up two seasons in a row.  understand the league’s argument. The damage the NFL does to brains and bodies is horrendous. Doctors know more about concussions than they ever have and commissioner Roger Goodell has assessed penalties for blows to the head, or with the head, more than any commissioner has. If grown men can’t remember their middle names 10 years after they leave the league, what do you think will happen to those 160-pound, teenaged tailbacks who thrive in college? The NFL plays hardball. As dominant as Alabama was last season, the Crimson Tide would lose by double figures to the NFL’s worst team. But Clowney is 6-foot-6 and 256 pounds. If you believe in free enterprise, on what grounds do you tell a player physically ready to compete that, for his own good, he won’t be allowed to? Clowney had a teammate, tailback Marcus Lattimore, who was as good at his job as Clowney is at his. In his second start as a freshman, Lattimore rushed for 182 yards. As a sophomore, Lattimore shredded his left knee against Mississippi State and as a junior he shredded his right knee against Tennessee. He will not return to South Carolina for his senior season. Lattimore, 21, is going pro. In the grand scheme of things, does Sorensen have a point, yes?  Do I agree with Sorensen’s assessment, no.  Clowney has goals he wants to accomplish and most importantly, he went to college to pursue his degree. I know everyone is going to say come on he’s a pro football player just going to class.  Clowney has hinted on many occasions that he might stay in school the whole four years. Sorensen suggest that by returning to Columbia, Clowney is being cheated.  I disagree with that as well.  Jadeveon Clowney is being given the opportunity to enjoy the best time of his life. Clowney went to South Carolina specifically to play with teammates and friends from the state of South Carolina.   Why should he give that up to pull a Maurice Clarett and sit out a season. Who’s to say Clowney’s game doesn’t slip from the lack of reps or playing time.  For all his domination at times and disruption of an opponents passing game, Clowney still is not the most polished of defensive ends. He still does not play the run as well as he should, and his motor is not always revved up like it should be.  Jadeveon Clowney can use all the reps, classroom sessions and work he chooses to get. Clowney has teammates and he would be cheating them by putting money over the chase for the National Championship.  If Jadeveon Clowney is that worried about injury, he can take out an insurance policy that will reward him well if he’s injured severely.
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