Originally posted on The Sports Rocker  |  Last updated 1/2/13

This Yahoo! Sports article regarding Gamecock's defensive monster Jadaveon Clowney and the three year rule for NFL eligibility is a good read. Anyone that has watched the Gamecocks this season knows Clowney is NFL ready. While the praise might be deserved, let's step off the gas pedal for a moment. And for the love of all things holy, don't compare Clowney to Maurice Clarett.

"Son, I'm gonna name my next contract after you, The Clowney Deal!"

 For all the hype surrounding Clowney's decapitating hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith, Clowney was pretty well contained by the Wolverines offensive line. He recorded only three tackles for the game. Clowney's hit on Smith came when Clowney, not lined up on the end, came up unblocked near the nose tackle. The rest is history.

What Clowney wants to make sure he avoids is what happened to another super-hyped defensive stud. Anyone remember Lavar Arrington? Anyone? Bueller? Granted Arrington was a linebacker, but much of his draft status was built on his ability to blow up plays from the linebacker position. What people figured out once he was on the Redskins is that he didn't know much about actually playing in a defensive scheme. At Penn State, Arrington was basically a freelancer on defense.

Clowney needs to make sure that he is actually able to read offensive line schemes and plays before the snap. But, fortunately or unfortunately, he has another year left. And that brings us to Mr. Clarett. Remember him? He was kicked off the Ohio State football team for a laundry list of items. He took money from everyone willing to give it to him during his freshman - and only - year at Ohio State. Eventually, he sued the NFL to try to get into the draft that way. He never played a down in the NFL. The obvious connection between Clarett and Clowney is the NFL's early entry rule. Though Clowney hasn't challenged it, it has been brought up due to his relatively quick success.

Clarett's and Clowney's ways to the draft couldn't be any more different, success versus in-eligibility. For Clowney though, he knows what he is trying to do next year, and he has already made it clear. From the aforementioned Yahoo! article:

"I believe a defensive player can win the Heisman next year," Clowney said in mid-December. "That's my next thing, New York. Next season, I am going to come out and try to work harder than I did this season and try to get there."

Before we get all Heisman on Clowney though, let me pass along some advice. Take a public speaking course. Take a basic finance course. We all know you won't be in school next spring, so take some time to prepare for life out of football. Until then, enjoy the ride.

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