Jadeveon Clowney Has Difficult Task of Living Up to His Own Legend

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IAugust 19, 2013

January 1,2013; Tampa, FL, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) against the Michigan Wolverines during the second half of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Michigan Wolverines 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Jackson is one of a few players in the history of modern college football to transfix football experts as completely as Jadeveon Clowney does these days. 

A physical phenomenon, Clowney does things on the gridiron most professional players can't touch, and he's only 20 years old. Barring an unfortunate injury, nobody would be surprised to see the junior defensive end win the Heisman Trophy this season and become a perennial All-Pro pass-rusher in the NFL for one lucky team.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame isn't out of the question, either. 

This is no jest.

Clowney's potential is immeasurable. 

There's a good reason he's being considered as a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this year. With 21 sacks in 25 career games as a freshman and sophomore, Clowney has a proven track record of being one of the nation's most disruptive defenders.

The last defensive player to win the trophy was Charles Woodson back in 1997, but many, including a panel of ESPN.com experts, expect the defensive end from South Carolina to break the long drought.

If he had been eligible, Clowney would have almost certainly been the first pick of the 2013 NFL draft, and he'd have likely generated a bidding war for that pick by teams clamoring for his services.

Former NFL scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently polled five NFL executives with over 10 years of experience, and all five of them concluded "that Clowney was the best defensive player they had seen in college football over the last decade."

No pressure, kid.

Should the young man fail to live up to the enormous expectations being placed on his shoulders, Clowney will go down in history as one of the biggest busts in the history of football. 

Thankfully, from recent reports out of South Carolina, Clowney isn't resting on his laurels. He has his own teammates catching hell from head coach Steve Spurrier for not blocking him in practice, as noted by USA Today's Willie T. Smith:

Our pass protection stinks right now. Our offensive line was not very good today, some of them. Some of them may have played decent, we'll wait and see. But obviously we act like we didn't even try to block Clowney today. I don't think at any time was he blocked. We act like we're afraid to block him, I don't know. But anyway, hopefully he's that good, but I've seen other people block him. He doesn't get to the quarterback every play like he did just about today.

Perhaps I'm alone in this, but it appears Spurrier was slyly giving his pass-rusher an underhanded compliment while simultaneously bashing his offense.

Chances are, the South Carolina offensive linemen are sick and tired of getting beat up by the freak of nature we call Jadeveon Clowney.

Clowney's legend is only beginning to take shape.

In addition to the sheer numbers he's put up and his freakish size, speed and strength, which are impressive enough, Clowney has sent millions scrambling for their computers to log onto YouTube after he destroyed Vincent Smith in the backfield before Smith ever knew what hit him. 

The play earned Clowney an ESPY award for the Best Play. Yeah, it was kind of a big deal. 

Just to make things interesting this summer, he flipped a blocking sled like it was made of cardboard, as noted by ESPN's SportsCenter:

In case you didn't already know this, those sleds aren't light.

Given the magnitude of the myth he's already created, the weight of carrying out such an epic vision is one most of us could never fathom.

Should he overcome the pressure of his own hype and continue to blossom as a football player, the majority of fans will only appreciate his physical feats of might. 

They would all miss the beautiful truth.

Far greater than his raw speed and power, more impressive than a multitude of sacks and more meaningful than winning the Heisman Trophy, measuring up to the legend of Clowney will be Jadeveon's greatest feat. 


Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 


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