Gamecocks Football: My Interview with Sporting News on Jadeveon Clowney

Much has been written about and speculated regarding Jadeveon Clowney’s college future.  This Gamecocks blog wanted to get to the bottom of the talk and really understand the chances USC has to land him.  So we requested a interview with the Assistant Editor of the Sporting News Yearbook – Matt McKenzie. 

He granted the short interview, which you can read below, and we recommend the Sporting News Yearbook as your go-to resource for all your recruiting insight.

Matt has spent a lot of time with Clowney and coaches around his high school program as it is his job to gather this time of insight that he shares with us.

Clowney is the nation’s top recruit and the Gamecocks are doing all they can to land him.

My questions regarding the recruitment of Jadeveon Clowney are in bold and Matt McKenzie’s answers are in regular text, check it out:

1. USC is rumored to be at the top of Clowney’s list.  Your view on this.
I would have to say it’s down to USC and Alabama, and I would give the Gamecocks the slight edge. In spending time and talking to Clowney, he seems like a guy who doesn’t want to stray far from home, and he has a couple of good friends already playing for South Carolina. The Gamecocks have long been on his trail, and I think that will pay off in the end. While schools have come and gone (Ohio State, Miami, Florida State, LSU, to name a few) on his top-five list, the two that have seemed to be there the whole time are USC and Alabama. And I think staying close to home and his family wins out in the end.

2. In your view, what are the consideration points that Clowney is looking at when weighing his decision?
As I previously mentioned, being close enough to home is one major thing, in my opinion. That’s why you’ve never seen him even hint about going out west to a Pac-10 power or anywhere too far. Playing for a winning program is important too, I think. Even his coach at South Pointe, Bobby Carroll, said as much. No one wants to go to a team that flounders at 6-6 every year; they want championships, or at least the right to play for them. Clowney is so focused on winning and helping his team out. He’d much rather talk about that at any time, than about himself. When his team lost the 3A state title a couple of weeks ago to Myrtle Beach, he was furious, kicking helmets, etc. And of course, as any freshman is wont to do, he wants to go somewhere where he can either start or be in the mix right away. Which he should, because Clowney is an absolute monster on the gridiron. I read a lot about him, but it was nothing like the first time I saw him play in person. I said it in my story, he truly looked like a man among boys.

3. Does the outcome of the SEC championship game have any effect on the recruitment of Clowney?
I don’t think so. I think more effect might have been when South Carolina beat Alabama, a game that Clowney attended. Both South Carolina and Alabama (again, who I think the two favorites for Clowney are) lost to Auburn this year in different fashions (Alabama failing to protect a big lead and USC getting blown out) so when you think about it that way, it cancels each other out. Plus the fact that USC was able to get to the SEC Championship game for the first time ever was good in his recruitment.

4. How does the recent success of recruiting the Rock Hill area by USC factor in to Clowney’s decision?
I think it factors in a little. As I mentioned earlier, Stephon Gilmore is one of Clowney’s close friends, and then USC also has another former South Pointe teammate in Devonte Holloman. It’s always good to go somewhere when you already know some people who can kind of show the ropes and lay of the land, so USC having a strong presence in Rock Hill and the surrounding area helps.

5. What effect does USC’s success this season have on Clowney coming to Carolina?
Personally, I think a big one. That was one of the things that Alabama could have came at Clowney with: ‘Hey, we just won a national championship, have the reigning Heisman winner, etc.’ while South Carolina couldn’t offer much in comparison with that. But this year, the success they had by beating Alabama and then making the SEC Championship game, it levels out the playing field somewhat and gives USC a chance to say, “We’re building on something here, and you’re the missing piece.”

If you enjoyed this, please read more on Gamecocks recruiting insight in this — South Carolina Recruiting: Inside Perspective From Sporting News on 2011 Class .

I am going on the record to say Clowney signs with South Carolina.  Thoughts?

About flounder

Two-time grad of THE University of South Carolina.