Steve Spurrier: Clowney could have gone from high school to the NFL

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I noted on New Year’s Day that South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney looks like he’s ready to be the first overall pick in the NFL draft, except that he’s only two years out of high school and therefore ineligible for the draft. According to Clowney’s coach, Clowney was actually ready for the draft two years ago.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said on the Dan Patrick Show that Clowney was good enough coming out of high school that he could have gone immediately to the NFL without ever having to play college football at all.

“He could’ve come out of high school, probably, and gone straight to the NFL and played,” Spurrier said. “He’s just one of those rare guys who has tremendous strength and quickness and explosiveness. And he likes playing. He’s a good guy, he’s really a good teammate also.”

So does that make the NFL draft eligibility rules unfair to Clowney, who has to spend three years risking injury as an amateur before he can make a living as a professional? Spurrier doesn’t sound like he’s too concerned about that question.

“He’s looking forward to next year,” Spurrier said. “He knew it was a three-year deal. But he’s ready. Oh, yeah, he’s ready for the NFL.”

For those who think Spurrier was engaging in hyperbole when he says Clowney could have gone straight from high school to the NFL, check out the video below. Clowney’s high school highlights look about like what you’d expect from an NFL player playing in high school:

114 responses to “Steve Spurrier: Clowney could have gone from high school to the NFL

  1. So does that make the NFL draft eligibility rules unfair to Clowney, who has to spend three years risking injury as an amateur before he can make a living as a professional?
    —————————-
    This is a dumb argument. No one is making him play, risking injury. He could just go to college and get an education like the rest of us.

  2. In the Outback Bowl, Clowney obliterated the entire state of Michigan when he hit Wolverines’ running back Vincent Smith and forced a fumble. There are now only 49 states in the United States and Roger Goodell has suspended Clowney for the first game of his NFL career.

  3. Literally no doubt about it. Probably would have went number one overall too. We’re gonna need a creative, “Suck for Luck” type name for Clowney next year, whoever gets him is getting a true freak of nature.

  4. The very definition of hyperbole because if this were the case Taylor Lewan must be a lock for the #1 pick overall. He removed Clowney from 99% of that game. The one play Clowney did impress on, Lewan (according to game reports) checked off to the TE and the miscommunication let him go unblocked.

  5. I don’t buy it. College coaches routinely hype their own players to sway draft personnel’s opinions.

    The only player that I know of that truly didn’t need college to grow up was Earl Campbell. That’s the only guy I’ve read about who could’ve bypassed college and Earl had thighs that were in the 34-inch range.

  6. While I respect the Ole ‘Ball Coach for his opinion concerning college players at that level one must remember this. During his tenure in Washington he attempted to apply the same work schedule of an NCAA coach to the pro game. It is not similar in many regards including going out to play 18 in the afternoon and locking up the facility.

  7. Is that the same Steve Spurrier who said Shane Matthews, Patrick Ramsey and Danny Wuerffel were NFL quarterbacks? Yeah, I thought so….

  8. Yeah, he looks like a man among boys in that highlight reel. Then again, so did Gerald Dixon on the other side.

    And wasn’t it Spurrier that said Alabama could beat NFL teams?

    Does he remember what the NFL is even like?

  9. Please ….. as good as he is in those clips, he’s playing among high schoolers. Far cry from NFL competition.

    NFL players would eat this kid alive.

  10. 3-years is perfect. NFL is too brutal to risk a developing body on. Even if the .1% can do it, it always turns out that 99% think their the .1%.

  11. Impressive highlights. What’s less impressive is the video quality. Are high schools still recording on vhs or something?

    Ooooh weee, what’s up with that? What’s up with that?

  12. Raise your hand if you want NCAA football to become similar to NCAA basketball where all the best players are around for 1 year. Keep the NFL’s rules and stay away from this idea.

  13. That’s not entirely impressive, considering the common disparity amongst high-school teenagers. Some of the “freaks of nature” only seem so because at that young age, often most of the kids still have years of growing and development ahead.

    Point in fact, we had a couple standouts at my HS. True men amongst boys at that time. However, the moment they moved up into college, than pros, they were not the big fish in the little pond any longer. Both of our standout football stars were never big enough or skilled enough to even try out for the NFL. Both became notable MLB players – so it’s not hyperbole on my part, either, that they were talented athletes. It’s just that the NFL is truly the finest of the best players on the planet.

  14. No. He was a 240 pound DE coming out of HS. Just google his HS pics and look at his arms. Is that the kind of guy that could push around Joe Thomas, Duane Brown, or any other NFL Tackle? The only players who could ever come out of HS to the pros are maybe kickers…maybe.

  15. Physically, yes. Mentally? No. There is no way these kids are ready for the pressure of the NFL or the chance to manage millions of dollars. Not to mention, they need that college education in case the NFL doesn’t work out for them. All sports should have the same rules as the NFL.

  16. So does that make the NFL draft eligibility rules unfair to Clowney, who has to spend three years risking injury as an amateur before he can make a living as a professional?

    Risking injury while getting an education? Sounds like a terrible setup.

    No. NFL has it 100% right. Get an education incase you get an injury as a professional.

  17. Coming from the guy that had most FB people rolling their eyes when he said Alabama could beat NFL teams. Hyping your players is one thing but, c’mon…

  18. Steve Spurrier likes to say things to keep his name in the news.

    Could Clowney? As a bench player, maybe. But Clowney has had to get quite a bit bigger, faster, and stronger – at South Carolina. And he will again in the NFL to fulfill his potential at DE.

    This guy isn’t meant to be a decent DE. He’s meant to be the best.

  19. Sure Steve, because you know all about the NFL, like getting your ass handed to you week in and week out.

    But hey, you did put up 40 points against the Steelers in the pre-season so you must be an expert.

    What is the over/ under this post lasts more than 5 minutes? I have the under…

  20. Steve Spurrier needs to say something stupid once a week.

    If Clowney came into the NFL from HS he would have been nearly killed and hurt his future earnings.

    Spurrier is a dangerous and selfish self promoter and doesn’t give a damn about his players.

  21. Impressive highlights, although it sure looks like he lines up in the neutral zone on some plays. Maybe just the camera angles. But Spurrier doesn’t exactly have much NFL credibility does he?!

  22. I have never in my life seen something like that. He just completely DOMINATES every other player on the field in that video. I have a feeling they were testing him for PED’s because he looked like a giant compared to everyone else on the field. I probably would have just shat myself and sat on the bench if I was a HS QB looking over at him. Wow. What a football player.

  23. Wow…..that guy is an unheard of talent….Bill Belichick…..please find a way to move up and draft this guy….give up Ryan Mallett and multiple picks…..

  24. I just hope the hype doesn’t get too crazy with this kid. No doubt he’s an absolute physical freak (Jason Pierre-Paul level freak), but his play is a little inconsistent for me at times. Outside of that one play against Michigan I didn’t see him dominate. But if he keeps working hard there’s no reason he shouldn’t be one of the best defensive players in the NFL.

  25. Pfff i dont care what ppl say. Mabye not every year…but some years i do believe best college team can beat worst nfl team. I mean the lions went 0 and 16. How? Some ppl think college team would have that same record in nfl also…so doesnt that make that lions team equal to best college team?

  26. @almighty1 and @teamobijuan

    I get your point – I also love college football – but the way it exists now it is basically indentured servitude.

    I don’t support slavery and (likely) neither do you — the system must be revised so that these kids are not risking it all so that you and I can have a product we like.

    The universities and networks make millions and these kids risk injury and their potential for comparitively little in return.

  27. Most NFL careers don’t last longer than 4 years. The current system encourages players to get a college degree for life after that span or at the very least it makes it easier for them to go back and complete a few semesters of work in the offseason during their pro careers to get that degree(Vince Young and Michael Griffin did this) or afterwards as Emmitt Smith did. The NFL and NCAA have done the right thing for the majority of players. Say Clowney did enter the draft and gets injured in training camp or it comes out during the evaluation process that he has a condition in his knee like D’Quan Bowers did, what now? Three years of college goes a long way in allowing these men to become teachers, coaches, analysts, businessmen, community activists, you name it. No degree or easy pathway leaves them managing a gas station if they can’t live off their wealth from their playing days.

  28. Probably a bad thing to say as a fan but I kind of hope Tampa stinks next year and we draft top 5-10. There is no way…barring a major injury next season at South Carolina, that this guy won’t be drafted within the top 5-10 range. I agree, I don’t think they could transition from HS to NFL but there is no doubt this guy has got some mad skills and potential. Watching these highlights I thought of a combination of players–Simeon Rice (with the straight speed/bull rush and swim move that he does on a lot of his sacks, TFLs and QB hurries), J.J. Watt, Jevon Kearse and Reggie White. Not a bad group of pass rushers to be in and Tampa sorely needs an elite pass rusher again…hopefully two of them.

    Yes, our secondary is weak and must be fixed too but an elite rush buys the secondary time and makes them automatically look better. Just look at our old Tampa Bay teams…outside of Lynch and Barber, no one else was really that good. They appeared better because of the pass rush and the Tampa 2 scheme.

    Anyways, I think this kid has a chance to be something special…just hope it isn’t PEDs…that would be a shame.

  29. Second time in less than 2 months that Spurrier has spouted of at the mouth at some way off base words. First a college team could beat an NFL team, and now this. No way that kid or any other kid could have gone straight from high school to the pros. This isn’t baseball. Football is a collision sport, and one collision with an NFL player would have taken all of the will out of the kid. 3 years out of high school is cool.

  30. Watched the film, annoying 70’s style reel to reel film noise and all…. and he needed college level to refine his game. There are many plays he jumps the snap (offsides), hand to the face mask of the qb (15 yard personal foul), horse collar tackles (another 15 yard personal foul)… and add to that on a couple plays it was blatantly obvious the OT he was facing didn’t even know the snap count and stood still as he flew by… didn’t even move until he hit the qb. Many of the other boys he faced were nowhere near the size of college linemen.

    To say he could have come from HS to NFL is ludicrous. Only from the mouth of Spurrier could this tripe be spewed.

    I think after his 3 years in college, he will be a SOLID NFL player.

  31. After seeing what he and Peterson did as true freshmen’s they probably could have gone straight to the NFL. However they are the only 2 guys in the past decade the would have successfully made the jump. No need to change the rules for two players.

    Although I do think the NCAA needs to change something. The system is messed up.

  32. Am sorry but no high school kid is ready for the NFL. Yeah he looked great playing against high school kids but those are *HIGH SCHOOL* kids. Half of them aren’t good enough for college, much less NFL.

  33. His physical attributes say he can have success in the NFL, but the unknown variable of his mind being ready for the league is why this should be left alone, let the Kid enjoy college life.

    The NFL is going anywhere, when he is ready mentally and having the time to grow on the physical end he will be in the league.

  34. The age limit should be kept. This kid has TREMENDOUS talent. But the age limit also serves to keep kids out of a man’s league.

    Think about it.. pretend there is a 16 year old who could play like this.. Would you want him in the NFL? At what age do you draw the line? Sure, there would be a natural drop off at some point where the younger you go you just don’t find these freaks of talent, but I think the restrictions that are in place currently are for the best.

  35. I will always remember this guy for his comments upon meeting Nick Saban.””I don’t see no big deal like everybody else. They’d say, ‘He’s the king of all of football.’ The guy ain’t nothing but 5-5. He’s a short guy. Everybody’s going crazy on Nick Saban.” Apparently size matters and winning championships just isn’t all the impressive…..Hope he enjoys watching the game along with the rest of us…..

  36. Wasn’t Spurrier the same nut who said this years’ one-loss Alabama team could defeat an NFL team? Guy just likes to see his name in the news with the words “Spurrier” and “NFL” together because that’s the only way they’ll ever come together ever again.

  37. thestatsishere says:
    Jan 4, 2013 1:24 PM
    I don’t buy it. College coaches routinely hype their own players to sway draft personnel’s opinions.

    The only player that I know of that truly didn’t need college to grow up was Earl Campbell. That’s the only guy I’ve read about who could’ve bypassed college and Earl had thighs that were in the 34-inch range.
    __________________________

    Go look up Marcus Dupree if you want to see another physically ready Freshman.

    Clowney is 6 foot 6, unbelievably quick, and just a freak of nature. He also plays a position that requires minimal development time.

  38. LOL– If you were at those high school games you’d look down and wonder.. “Who is that man and why is he playing with the kids?””

  39. @bucrightoff

    “Literally no doubt about it. Probably would have went number one overall too. We’re gonna need a creative, “Suck for Luck” type name for Clowney next year, whoever gets him is getting a true freak of nature.”

    ___________________________________

    “play downey for clowney”

  40. impressive video indeed. without a doubt he is _destroying_ those opposing high schoolers, as a high schooler himself.

    but let’s inject a dose of reality .. straight out of HS he will not do anything remotely similar against NFL’ers. on the NFL football field, every single player is fast, strong, powerful, explosive .. not to mention well trained and coached at the NFL level.

    at the pro level its not only about physicality, its also knowing your responsibilities, reading the offense, being disciplined, etc.

    but i am sure after 3 years of college, he will come out ready and be a very impactful player .. his potential is great

  41. Wow, what a man among boys in that video. That double teamed him over and over and he blasted them. He’s wayyyyy stronger and faster than anyone on that field. I don’t think he should have been allowed to go directly to the NFL. 18 year olds just can’t handle that type of lifestyle in my opinion. Either way can’t wait to watch him dominate next year then again at the NFL level.

  42. misterchainbluelightning says:Jan 4, 2013 2:21 PM

    Lay Downey for Clowney?
    ———————————————————-

    I laughed out loud, I really did!

    Thanks, I needed that 😉

  43. Very impressive. However, the only player I have seen that could’ve made the jump from HS to the NFL is Herschel Walker.

  44. Right, because if there’s two thing Spurrier knows, it’s defensive players and what it takes to be successful in the NFL.

  45. Toast of the town in Rock Hill, SC, Handful of NFL players come from that town near Charlotte.

  46. I can’t get over those highlights. He looks to be about 8 feet tall. He’s twice the height of some of the opposing skill players and he runs away from the like they’re standing still.

  47. There’s a ton of examples like that. For instance, in high school, Junior – Senior year I was able to throw about 94 mph. Nobody could hit me…period. All I needed to do was throw fastballs.

    If I went to MLB at that point, big league hitters would have lit me up like the Vegas Strip.

  48. Spurrier is not the only or the first person to say he could have played pro ball right after high school. During his recruitment there was a lot of talk about how he could have gone right to the NFL. He wouldn’t have been an everyday DE but he could have played on special pass rush situations. He’s a freak of nature and the type of player that only comes around once every decade or two.

  49. The video is impressive. Unfortunately there are not very many 5’8 200 lb left tackles in the NFL.

  50. He is a natural, but he needs more time in the weight room to be a DE in the NFL. Of course he could transition to LB.

  51. I dunno about “quick”, his get-off looked about average for the guys around him. Good top speed, though it’s hard to tell relative to the guys around him.

    I’m reminded of the other “wow he’s fast” under-weight high draft pick DE in the conversation of late, namely Bruce Irvin. I’m not saying Irvin is a bust, but he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire either.

  52. gbatap says
    This is a dumb argument. No one is making him play, risking injury. He could just go to college and get an education like the rest of us.
    _________________________________
    Very arrogant and pompous statement from you. I think you completely miss the point. Just don’t say anything. Makin’ yourself look bad dude.

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