Clowney has been a one-man wrecking crew on defense with 128 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and an interception this season. Alabama, South Carolina, LSU, Florida State and Ohio State are among the schools vying for his services next season.Read More Below
At 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, South Pointe High defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been labeled as intimidating. The sheer magnitude of his presence forces double (and even triple) teams, and his enormous wingspan makes him a constant threat to swat down passes at the line of scrimmage. Perhaps he's more aptly described as unblockable. He also runs a blistering 4.48 40.
That combination of size and speed has made Clowney arguably the most highly coveted player in the Class of 2011. He's ranked number one at his position on Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports. He's the embodiment of what analysts refer to as a physical specimen, power cleaning 300 pounds and possessing a 36 inch vertical leap. Scouts have likened him to former Titans and Eagles DE Jevon Kearse for his physically imposing build.
"The buzz don't bother me," he says of his much ballyhooed potential.
It's tantalized college coaches, though, many of whom are engaged in an all-out recruiting frenzy for his services. He's been targeted by Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier and Les Miles, among others, and has received scholarship offers from nearly every perennial BCS powerhouse. Despite speculation that he's favoring Alabama and hometown South Carolina, he's careful not to reveal where he is leaning.
"I don't have a top [choice] right now," he says.
Clowney prides himself most on his pass-rushing abilities, powering his way to 19.5 sacks and 128 tackles through an 11-1 mark in his senior season. He's been a turnover magnet, contributing 10 forced fumbles and an interception. Along with his role in the Stallions' state championship campaign in 2008, those numbers have cemented his position as a bona fide blue-chipper.
His situation has been less stable at home. His father, David Morgan, spent 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to a robbery charge in 1995 and was absent for most of his childhood. Clowney says they've become close since his return, as Morgan continues to stress the importance of learning from his mistakes. Morgan's also pushing his son to keep training in preparation for his time on campus, though his biggest motivation emanates from the stands.
"I love the fans," he says. "I play harder when they scream."
They'll scream even louder -- either in agony or ecstasy -- when he likely commits on National Signing Day in February. Clowney is expected to have an immediate impact wherever he lands, citing early playing time as a major factor in his decision. He could become the defensive centerpiece for a national championship contender in just his freshman year.
Beyond that, his sights are focused on the future. He views his collegiate experience as the requisite next step in what could be a lengthy, and decorated, football career.
"My goal is playing in the NFL," he says. "That's all I ever want."