Jadeveon Clowney's commitment to South Carolina might make the Gamecocks defense the best in the SEC East in the fall. It could also help get Steve Spurrier back to the SEC Championship Game, and maybe bring the Gamecocks their first-ever SEC Championship.
That's partly thanks to how good Clowney is: he'll arguably be one of the most talented defensive ends in the SEC as soon as he suits up, and might make up for the losses of talented seniors like Chris Culliver and Patrick DiMarco. Best in the SEC East is a possibility; more likely, Clowney just means the drop-off from the strong 2010 defense to an above-average 2011 defense isn't as severe as it could have been.
Above-average, though, might be enough to make the Gamecocks the SEC East favorite: with Stephen Garcia, Marcus Lattimore, and Alshon Jeffrey all back in Columbia in the fall, the South Carolina offense could be the most potent it has been under Spurrier. And considering that a less-experienced offense helped the Gamecocks make the 2010 SEC Championship Game, it's likely that the 2011 vintage will be better.
Clowney's announcement completes a strong South Carolina recruiting class, and keeping a huge in-state prospect from leaving the Palmetto State has worked well for the Gamecocks with Lattimore and Jeffrey.
For more on Jadeveon Clowney and what his college choice means, check out our South Carolina blog, Garnet and Black Attack.