South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney broke Twitter on New Year’s Day with a titanic hit on Michigan RB Vincent Smith that will linger with football fans for the rest of the year.
It was a fitting end to a sophomore season that saw the Gamecocks’ man child of a defensive end earn First Team All-America and SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors while setting a school record with 13 sacks. Amid this star-making campaign, the speculation began. Will Clowney project to be like Lawrence Taylor? Julius Peppers? DeMarcus Ware?
All those pass-rushing stars serve as worthy bases of comparison for Clowney. But I’m not reminded of any of them when I see Clowney wreak absolute havoc in the backfield. In fact, I’m not reminded of any football player at all. When I watch Jadeveon Clowney, I find myself watching the equivalent of LeBron James. Both have physical talent I have never seen before in their respective sports.