South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is ready for the NFL. But thanks to an NFL rule aimed at protecting the free farm system known as college football, he can’t join the NFL until he is three years removed from high school.
“My mom was the first person to call me, and was like, ‘I hope you ain’t talking about doing nothing crazy like this.’ I’m not gonna do that. Nobody would like me here in South Carolina,” Clowney said, laughing.
“I’m not leaving school. I don’t really think I’m taking a big risk. You can get hurt anywhere. I can get in a car accident any given day outside of playing football. I can trip off a curb and tear my ACL. Anything can happen to you. It don’t matter where you at you can get hurt. You can get hurt at your own house, fall, trip and fall. I’ve been doing this since I was five years old, playing football. If it’s my time to get hurt, it’s my time to get hurt. I’m just gonna play like I’ve been playing.”
He’s right, but the normal, everyday risk of injury is slightly higher when playing major college football. And the point was, is, and will be that, for a guy who isn’t getting paid and who is playing football to ultimately get paid, playing for free when he’s already at a point where he’d enter the NFL at the top of the draft pool creates a grossly unnecessary risk.
We like Clowney’s attitude. But most kids that age would feel that way. Clowney, and everyone else in his position, needs someone who understands the real risks to give him objective advice that takes into account the player’s best interests, and no one else’s.
We won’t hold our breath, or any other bodily function, waiting for his head coach to have that conversation with him. And that’s not a specific rip on Steve Spurrier.
We’d be shocked if any Division I head coach would give advice to a player that makes the coach’s team weaker in the coming season.