Top 10: #2 - Jadeveon Clowney

For South Carolina to reach its goals in the 2012 season, 10 players have to step up and have a big year. We begin the top 10 today and will conclude with the #1 player prior to the opening game against Vanderbilt. Today we take a look at the #2 player, Jadeveon Clowney.

2. Jadeveon Clowney

If there is more of a physical specimen than Jadeveon Clowny I have not seen him. The 6'6 258-pound defensive end has the strength of a bull and agility of a leopard. The freakish ability Clowney has is mind blowing and is a player you have to see play in live action to realize just what kind of player he is.

As a true freshman, Clowney played in all 13 games but started just one time. He recorded seven tackles in the season-opener, the most of the season, and had two sacks in three games against Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. He had one of the plays of the game against Georgia when he burst through the line untouched and slung quarterback Aaron Murray around like a rag doll, and Melvin Ingram scooped up the fumble and took it to the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

For the season Clowney finished with 36 tackles, eight sacks, and forced five fumbles. Defensive line coach Brad Lawing said in the spring that Clowney did all of that with limited knowledge of the playbook. Now that he knows the playbook and will play most of the snaps his numbers will increase in 2012.

Clowney will also be moved around a bit this season similar to how Eric Norwood and Melvin Ingram were used the last few years. Not only will he be on the end, he may stand up on the outside, moved to the middle, and anywhere else the coaches feel he may be able to impact the game similar to how a linebacker is used.

"I can play it so it's not a big deal to me," Clowney said.

With Clowney's hype coming into college and his play on the field during his freshman campaign, Clowney has received a lot of national attention. He was named SEC Freshman of the Year by SEC coaches and was on multiple All-SEC lists and Freshman All-American lists.

This season Clowney is on Sports Illustrated's All-American team and a consensus first-team preseason All-SEC. Clowney is also on the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year watch list, as well as the Bronco Nagurski, Chuck Bednarik and the Lombardi Awards watch list. The Nagurski Award is handed out to the nation's best defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club, the Bednarik Award is given to the nation's best defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club, and the Lombardi Award is given to the best lineman or linebacker.

Clowney, along with fellow defensive end Devin Taylor, will have to play at a high level all season if Carolina hopes to achieve what it wants to achieve this season. 50+ tackles and 10+ sacks are legitimate goals for Clowney to reach this season as well as several game-changing plays. If Clowney lives up to his potential the Gamecocks will be tough to beat defensively.

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories