South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney Doesn’t Deserve Heisman Hype


“The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.”

That is the mission statement of the Heisman Trust, word for word, from the Heisman webpage. Nowhere does it say “We will award the Heisman to the biggest, strongest, fastest, most athletic freak with a cool name.”

Why then is Jadaveon Clowney getting so much preseason Heisman hype?

I’m not going to sit here and tell you he isn’t one of the best defensives ends in the country, because he is. I’m not going to tell you that he isn’t among the best defensive payers in the country heading into the 2013, because he is. I am, however, going to tell you that there is nothing we’ve seen from Clowney outside of being big, strong and fast that tells me he should be considered a front-runner for an award that is supposed to be given to the best player in college football.

Let’s take a look at Clowney’s stats — which by the way are unofficial in the eyes of the NCAA — from the 2012 season. The South Carolina defensive end recorded 54 tackles and 13 sacks for the Gamecocks last year. Impressive numbers. sure. Enough to vault him into the Heisman conversation for the upcoming season? That I’m not so sure about.

The fact is, Clowney’s most impressive stat, his 13 sacks, was one that was equaled or eclipsed by four players in 2012 who are also returning for the 2013 season. Southern Cal’s Morgan Breslin, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy and Arizona State’s Will Sutton all recorded 13 sacks last year. UCLA’s Anthony Barr had 13.5.

SEC and Clowney supporters will counter those stats with the fact that Clowney plays in the SEC, a much tougher conference than those other four players compete in. Well, BYU was independent last year and in addition to his 13 sacks, Van Noy also had two interceptions. He returned one for a touchdown. Clowney had none. The other three all play in the PAC 12. If the SEC is the toughest conference, the PAC 12 is No. 2. Most college fans will agree with that. On that note, Anthony Barr played for a team who made it to their conference title game. Clowney did not. All three PAC 12 players also had more tackles than Clowney.

In addition those facts, it’s not like all of his sacks and tackles came against the best competition. Of his 13 sacks, only 6.5 came against the SEC — less than one a game. In South Carolina’s bowl game against Michigan, he didn’t register a sack. In addition to that monster hit that ESPN seems to have on a 24/7 loop, Clowney made four other tackles on a relatively quiet day. He was matched up against Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, who made Clowney look quite human most of that afternoon. Maybe Lewan should have some Heisman hype heading into 2013.

When you get right down to it, it would appear that Clowney is a preseason Heisman candidate because he looks the part. As I stated before, he’s big, strong, fast and athletic. He plays in the SEC. Jay Z wants to sign him. All of that is great, but does it merit the type of Heisman hype that no other defensive player in college football history has ever garnered before the season began?

I’m just not so sure.

BY J.P. SCOTT ON JULY 29, 2013

Follow @JPScottSports on Twitter.



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About J.P. Scott

Owner and editor of Know It All Football, contributor to and Member of the Football Writers Association of America.

58 thoughts on “South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney Doesn’t Deserve Heisman Hype

  1. dport
    July 29, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Terrible read. Sports writing aint your bag

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks, bro!

      1. July 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm

        Brilliant~!! What’s your name? I bet you picked Johnny “Football” Manziel to win it last year.

    2. Paul
      July 30, 2013 at 6:11 am

      I read another article on Yardbarker a few weeks ago about what Clowney needs to do to earn/win the Heisman. I forget the details, but basically it said 18 sacks, a couple of interceptions and more tackles. Focus on the tackles and a few more sacks.

      Go Clemson!!

  2. neil hood
    July 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    He’s a game changer watch his under armor game coach tells him to get the ball next play he does just that.your all alone except with the Clemson purple passion group

    1. mike
      July 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm


  3. Chris
    July 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Interesting that the top of the page says “Know it all football” yet the writer shows how little he knows. No mention of the fact that offenses game plan around Clowney? No mention of more than 60% of offensive plays that the South Carolina defense sees are run away from Clowney? How about watching some South Carolina games and see how many plays Clowney alters that don’t produce stats? Such as forced incompletions or interceptions. Also consider that South Carolina runs a ball control offense and I would be willing to bet Clowney has many less opportunities than the players from those Pac12 teams you mentioned in the story. BYU? Please is that still considered D1?

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Yes, BYU is D-1. One of these guys was a top ten pick in the 2013 draft. He played the same position as Clowney. Less opportunities? Under that logic, a receiver who never gets the ball can claim to be the best in the game.

      1. Chris
        July 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm

        You mean a wide receiver like Julio Jones? When he was at Bama he was good, but I don’t know that anyone other than Atlanta’s front office thought he could be top 5 in the league.

  4. Jody Bowen
    July 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I’m not saying some of your points are not valid, but in the grand scheme of things, your main idea of Clowney not deserving Heisman hype is ludicrous. I guess you are going to tell me that Suh was undeserving as well? He should have been the first defensive player to win it. Suh single handedly changed games with his play, as does Clowney. You may end up being right in the end, because the Heisman winner ultimately goes to the player with the most outstanding stats, when it is supposed to go to the most outstanding player. Dude is a beast, and a freak of nature, and the college football world will witness that this year.

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Suh didn’t have nearly the preseason hype Clowney has. Suh put himself in the convo during the same season. Clowney is milking one highlight that ESPN won’t stop playing.

      1. Ignorance is bliss
        July 30, 2013 at 10:57 am

        Wow, you’re ignorance on this matter is astounding. Journalism used to be a noble profession until the Internet. Letsee if you can refute any thing I say. Jadeveon finished 6th in heisman voting as a sophomore defensive end (with no offensive touches) and that voting was before the “The Hit” even happened or ESPN played it over and over again (oh yea and it won the ESPY for best play). How many other 6’6 260 plus pounders can run a sub 4.5 40? Certainly not the players you listed. Also, Clowney strikes fear into his opponents: after last years Georgia game Aaron Murray said he had nightmares about Jadeveon, also Zach Mettenberger recently said he almost crapped his pants when he saw him. By the way, did you know that he was battling a foot injury most of the season and that’s why he didn’t play in the Wofford game? Didn’t think so. So he only had 6.5 sacks against SEC competition ( a league where running the ball comes first), it’s not like the rest came against cupcakes. He had 4.5 sacks in ONE GAME against Clemson, all on Tajh Boyd who was a fellow heisman candidate (until Clowney shut him down). Congratulations though, you got the attention you wanted by writing this article. Albeit, attention to the fact that you have no idea what you are writing about. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but do some research before you act like you know what you’re talking about and make yourself out to be a fool again.

  5. sassy
    July 29, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.”

    Clowney certainly epitomizes that statement more than Johnny Football does.

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Does he epitomize it more than UCLA’s Anthony Barr? How about Morgan Breslin?

  6. July 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    You just need to do more research on Clowny’s actives, you are not well informed.

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      His actives? Where would I find more research on those? He has a body of work. I’ve watched him games. I’ve looked at his stats. Should I talk to his parents? High School teachers? Kids with Clowney posters in their rooms? What other research do I need to do? Or is it just that you disagree with my opinion?

  7. Libby Lyles
    July 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Sorry you’re wrong…

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      Or I just have a different opinion than you.

  8. neil hood
    July 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Admin? You say you’ve watched these games but one of his best attributes is qb pressure. How many int can you credit him with. Funny how the guys who play against him are scared to death. What stat is that. You may need to write about baseball if your solely about stats

  9. D. Williams
    July 29, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Go back and watch the bowl game again. Clowney was double teamed more than left one on one. How many penalties did he draw on the left tackle? How many chip blocks did he take on? How many plays ran away from him? Fact is he made plays when they needed to be made.

    As far as they hype…..If he is in the conversation for the best player in college football, he deserves to be in the conversation for Heisman.

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Then so does Anthony Barr, but he’s not, because he didn’t knock the helmet off some 180lb RB and have ESPN play it over and over. Hype.

  10. Ryan
    July 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Clowney is a once in a decade type player, every single scout believes that. His sort of talent should get publicity for the Heisman, whether he’s able to produce and actually win it is a whole other discussion. To say he doesn’t deserve any of the hype is ridiculous, but eh let’s not do any real journalism and just push out some contrarian article to try and boost my fairly menial journalistic career

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      That or you are the kinda guy with a big ol’ Gamecocks logo on his Twitter profile who doesn’t like to read anything that goes against how you feel about your team. As I stated in the article, 4 other guys did what he did last season. Not one of them appears on a single Heisman watch list.

      1. ryan
        July 29, 2013 at 2:34 pm

        Any player who has been deemed the guaranteed number one overall pick, once in a decade type talent, with NFL scouts drooling over his abilities is going to get Heisman publicity…look at Matt Barkley beginning of last year. Whether they live up to the hype is the true question, but to say he doesn’t deserve any of it is just plain dumb and an obvious attempt at a negative publicity grab

        1. admin
          July 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm

          Then where is Taylor Lewan on the Heisman watch lists? He might actually go ahead of Clowney in the draft.

  11. July 29, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    You should also note in those statistics that Clowney was held out against Wofford…An inferior team in which he surely would’ve had a big day statistically.

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      Barr didn’t play in the bowl game against Baylor.

      1. July 29, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        The difference between Anthony Barr or Morgan Breslin and Clowney is that Clowney plays in a division that isn’t complete shit.

        1. admin
          July 29, 2013 at 2:45 pm

          The Pac 12 is the second best conference in college football. So what you are basically saying is that any conference other than the SEC is complete shit. That seems legit.

  12. EdMichaels
    July 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Have really WATCHED him play not just read the stats page? What about Tackles For Loss 23.5, QB pressures too many to count, forced fumbles, number of times held or number of times double and triple teamed. Anybody can look at stats and make an assumption but you know what happens when you assume things!!! Maybe try really watching the games next time before you sit down and write crap.

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Have you watched Anthony Barr or Morgan Breslin play?

      1. Matt
        July 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm

        Dude if you have such a hard on for Barr and Breslin why not write an article about how they should be included in the conversation? I get that Clowney is not the only good player in college football, but he is one of the best. The Heisman goes to the best college football player, regardless of the mission statement, and even you said he was one of the best. Maybe he wins it and maybe doesn’t but he deserves the attention because he is on the short list as one of the best players in college football.

      2. lilygrace
        July 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm

        Gotta say….you sound like an SEC hater! You seem dead set on trashing Clowney. He has been considered a top Heisman candidate for a couple of years; last year ended up sixth in the race. He was the number one pick coming out of high school and is considered to be the number one draft pick next year. Obviously the sports people, coaches, both NFL and NCAA, all believe he is just that good. It is not just ESPN. I would agree that it very obvious you have not taken the time to actually watch him play and play more than one game. When he wants to make a play there is no stopping him. He doesn’t have to shine in everything because he realizes he is part of a team that has more than one great player. Do your research first, quit hating on the SEC, and maybe look at the possibility that everyone else could be right and you are wrong!

  13. Terminex
    July 29, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    UCLA, BYU, Morgan Breslin (not sure what team she plays for)..BAAAHAAA! Were talkin stats in a grown man football conference. Not a she-she one. Clowney is doing this week end and week out against the likes of the LSU, UGA, UF and other top tier SEC talant. I’ll guess we could give Mich a little credit as well. There is a reason the SEC has one all of these BCS championships in a row. Grow up man, Clowney is the best D player in a century and should be in serious Heisman talks.

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      Go back and read again. Clowney got 6.5 of his sacks against SEC teams. Less than 1 a game. Morgan Breslin plays for USC, in the Pac 12, considered by many to be the second best conference in college football.

  14. Dustin Tucker
    July 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Someone just wants some attention

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Or someone took the time to really look at what the guy has done and noticed that others have done the same and not gotten the attention for it.

  15. Rooster
    July 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Great look at the truth. Clowney is a man, and will no doubt be drafted high, but since ESPNN has a vested interest in the SEC, they have hyped him way more than his stats show. No matter what anyone thinks about him, the votes are typically done based on the numbers when it comes to true life accomplishments. If it is based on fan votes, popularity, or such, who knows…..Again, much of a man, but not Heisman type at this point……

  16. john
    July 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I think the article is spot on. If Clowney actually played on every down he would be unstoppable. He is lazy and gets frustrated easily. Greta measurables though.

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks for reading.

  17. JOHN
    July 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    you sir are an idoit

    1. admin
      July 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Says the guy who spelled idiot wrong.

      1. JR
        July 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm

        Give him a break he is probably from South Carolina…

      2. BigB4SC
        July 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

        Being illiterate doesn’t make him an idiot.

  18. Keith
    July 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    You write about how Lewan made him look human almost all day. Out of those plays he looked human, why don’t you go back and watch how many times he was held either by the facemask, the hair, or the jersey. I know holding goes on every play and you can’t call each one, and i’m not taking anything away from Lewan, he’s a good player….but it’s much easier to keep Clowney at bay when you are getting away with grabbing his facemask, hair, and jersey on the majority of plays.

    1. CockyJim
      July 29, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Funny how a seasoned journalist readily lowers himself to trivial banter with a passionate fan base. You researched, wrote and for the life of me can’t understand where your journalistic balls are. While noble in it’s published intent, the voting is done by a league of impressionable personalities. JC might not deserve the pre-season hype but your argument has no impact at all. USC fans are not alone in their expectations but I suspect your article puts you in a very small group

  19. Jerry
    July 29, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Good points in the article. Look at Elvis Dumervil, Dwight Freeney, Terrell Suggs, Justin Tuck and even Julius Peppers those guys played on mediocre teams put up better numbers and still didnt get that kind of recognition but all made their mark in the NFL. This will be the case with Clowney he will be a good NFL talent but will not win the Heisman. South Carolina has a good team, but are not going to win a National title unless they leave the SEC. He would have to break Terrel Suggs’ sack record to pull it off.

  20. BigB4SC
    July 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    I think what the “writer” is trying to tell us is that his opinion is substantiated on an unofficial stat that is not the only thing involved when voting for Heisman candidates. If this is how everyone had or has ever looked at it it’s a wonder a defensive player has ever won the Heisman.

  21. BigB4SC
    July 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm


  22. July 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Half of your arguments to people’s comments are that they should go watch other players games and that they deserve just as much Hype as Clowney. Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong. But it seems like the argument you’re trying to make it that other players so also be considered, not that Clowney shouldn’t. And you also dodge every single point that people make about all of Clowney’s other stats that you fail to mention by telling them to look at other players. So that leads everyone to assume that you only considered the stats comparable to other players to make him look worse. So why did you leave those stats which are just as important out? Because they weren’t comparable with those players or because you didn’t think they were relevant?

  23. Wally Lujah
    July 29, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    He finished 6th in the Heisman last year as a SOPHOMORE DEFENSIVE END, but you must know something they don’t. Maybe they should let you vote! Stat for you: Among the nation’s top 20 sack leaders from 2012, there were 7 interceptions total — ALL BY LINEBACKERS. You ignored fumbles and a whole host of other statistics and metrics. This is not the career for you, bro. Maybe become a pastor?

  24. Heath
    July 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    If ESPN wants to pump Clowney up by playing his hit over and over and over, he can not control that. He is a talented young man as well are the young men you are speaking about. They may have better stats than Clowney and play just as tough as him. As a SC Gamecock fan I can live with that. But do these players you are speaking about be a game changer every weekend? Do they have the offense planning there scheme around them? Because week in and out SEC teams do that. Now I get SC does not play a SEC every weekend and they do have some cupcake games on the schedule. But Michigan is not a Cupcake team and when he needed to be a game changer he was and that Put us in a possiation to keep pace and win the game. You are entitled to your opinion but maybe just maybe those other players should make some game changing moments so they can also be put into the race. I hope he wins but there is a reason why know defensive player has done it. It’s all about the numbers. Clowney would have to play both sides of the ball and rush a few in like the fridge did. lol don’t see that happening. But we get it your article was written with a little hate on Clowney, and we all know there will be some of you drinking a little hateraide.

  25. Tyler
    July 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    He’s certainly deserving of the hype. To imply that he’s getting attn strictly b/c of ESPN is ludicrous. Every coach of every team that plays him raves a/b his talent. His peers in his conference freely admit that he is the most feared player they play against. He nearly led the NCAA in sacks as a sophomore and what’s scary is he’s just scratching the surface of his potential. OF COURSE he’s getting hype: he hasn’t peaked! People are eager to see what he can do w/ another year in a quality S&C program and w/ an extra year of coaching.

    As for Breslin and Barr, they didn’t receive nearly the same defensive game planning that Clowney did last year. Only Tiny Richardson took Clowney on 1v1 for a majority of a game and even he slipped up and gave up the game losing play to him. Most of the time he’s being chipped by a RB or just having his side of the field avoided entirely. A similar thing happened to Nnamdi Asomghua when he was shutting down entire sections of the field for the Raiders: he didn’t have incredible stats b/c teams simply wouldn’t throw his way.

    Simply put: if you don’t recognize the greatness of Clowney, you probably shouldn’t be writing a/b sports. I guess Rolling Stone shit all over Led Zeppelin, too, though, not that you’ve earned such a lofty comparison.

  26. James
    July 30, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Umm…what? So, I am to believe that your opinion is a more qualified one than the hundreds, I dare say thousands, of other sports writers that have also “done the research.” Yes, there are some writers who share the same view of Clowney as you, but those opinions are outliers…you sir are the exception to the rule in this case and there is a reason for that…;it is because you are just plain wrong….we all write things to be contrarian, but that doesn’t make it right, it just makes it different. Sorry “bro.”

  27. Ignorance is bliss
    July 30, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Wow, this is one of the most ignorant articles I’ve ever seen. The Internet has ruined journalism which I once considered to be a noble profession. Lets see if you can refute anything I say shall we. How many other 6’6 260+ pounders do you know that can run a sub 4.5 40? How many other sophomore defensive players (WITH NO OFFENSIVE TOUCHES) have finished 6th in the heisman voting? Mind you, voting that took place before the bowl game where “The Hit” took place. Also did you know that Jadeveon was battling a foot injury nearly the entire season? That’s why he didn’t play in the wofford game. Also, how many of the players you listed as just as good have quarterbacks literally terrified of him? Aaron Murray plainly stated last year that he had nightmares about clowney and Zach Mettenberger claims he nearly crapped his pants when he saw clowney (look it up). Oh and he only had 6.5 sacks against the SEC, well those sacks we’re game changing plays. And you think the rest came against cupcake teams? How about the 4.5 sacks he had in ONE GAME against heisman candidate Tajh Boyd?

  28. Kelly
    July 31, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Name one left tackle that can stop him?….you must be a Clumpson fan!

  29. lol
    August 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    stats do not lie , and Kelly he kinda got stopped tonight in the opened against NC . clowney was so out of shape he was in and out of the game lol yes that the making of a Heisman trophy winner there… He was so busy talking him self up he forgot his cardio . he is a media made joke and when he gets to the NFL he will find out how small he realy is..