3 things to know about Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina's star DE

Streeter Lecka

So you've decided to take a look at Jadeveon Clowney, the monster lining up at end for the South Carolina Gamecocks this fall. Here are three things you'll need to know at the water cooler this Monday.

1. This man will break you.

Jadeveon Clowney is a game-changer at defensive end, one who defenses need to account for at every possible moment with the potential consequence of "game ruined" at stake on every snap. He's 6'6", 274 pounds, lightning-fast and one of the most fearsome block-shedders college football has seen in years. He was a consensus All-American in 2012 after registering 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles-for-loss in his sophomore season. Oh, and if your defense makes the mistake of not blocking Clowney at all, here's what can happen:

2. He is probably going No. 1 in the draft.

Clowney is currently ranked No. 1 in virtually every 2014 NFL Draft simulation and "big board," and while he's only a junior, Clowney already declared for the 2014 Draft months ago. There's always a chance someone else goes first, but if the first team picking somehow doesn't need Clowney, so many other teams do that there'll likely be a massive bidding war for that top pick instead.

3. He's an irredeemable loafer.

Okay, "loafer" is overdoing it considerably, but Clowney caused something of a fracas in the weeks leading up to the season when he revealed that he didn't do much conditioning or strength work. He also looked less than 100% in the season opener, leading to the three dreaded words of player evaluation: out of shape. He should be able to play his way into shape with relative ease, but still: that's a superstar player struggling out there in Week 1.

Also, before Johnny Manziel's situation hijacked the entire dialogue about amateurism, Clowney also posed a threat to amateurism's status quo. The likelihood of Clowney having earned the No. 1 spot in the 2014 draft was considered so high immediately after last season that an actual question bandied about was "Should Clowney sit out the 2013 season?" Obviously as football fans everyone wanted to say "duh no are you kidding come on now," but that belied a larger discussion to be had about when participating in college athletics for a relative pittance compared to the level of risk when top draft pick status (and the money it confers) is at stake. And Clowney likely knows these risks all too well, having seen teammate tailback Marcus Lattimore get his knee exploded just last season.

Clowney, of course, is playing this season. He probably didn't even seriously consider sitting out for the year. And for all we know, voluntarily not playing for a year may be more damaging for NFL draft prospects than all but the worst of injuries. At any rate, though, Clowney is the alpha and omega of defenders in college football this season, a legitimate Heisman candidate if he plays as well as he did in 2012 again.

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