South Carolina looks to be loaded for the 2011 class, and the University of Georgia looks to be in on some of the top prospects in the Palmetto State. Four prospects have been offered so far in Dorman wide receiver Charone Peake, Wren offensive tackle Shaq Anthony, Goose Creek offense tackle Brandon Shell, and South Pointe defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. UGASports caught up with Clowney and his head coach Bobby Carroll to get the latest on his recruitment.
Coach Carroll has seen his fair share of talent during his time in the prep sports world, and he says his newest pair of standouts is right up there with the best.
"I have coached five NFL football players in my 27 years of coaching high school football. We had two Parade All Americans and two Under-Armour All Americans and two Shrine Bowl players here last year. I also coached Ben Watson when I was at Rock Hill. I thought those guys got a lot of mail in regards to recruiting until I saw Jadeveon Clowney," said Carroll.
According to Coach Carroll, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound rush end has a 4.53 hand timed forty, a 300-pound power clean, and a 36-inch vertical leap. With that kind of athletic ability, it is no wonder colleges are lining up to have a chance at the elite level talent.
"Clowney is an incredible football player and a good guy to have around," said Coach Carroll. "He is not some juiced up 6-foot-4 dude, though; he is a legit 6-foot-6. He looks like Jevon Kearse, and I would have to say he has close to 25 written offers already," added Carroll.
Although South Pointe is only in its fourth year of existence, but last year they fielded one of the best teams in the entire country, going 15-0 en route to a AAAA state championship and a top 5 national ranking. They outscored their opponents 672-98, for an average score of 45 to seven. While the offense sent one to Ohio State and one to South Carolina, it was their defense that had the star power.
"DeVonte Holloman and Stephon Gilmore were great for us last year. Now we have two talented juniors in Clowney and Gerald Dixon, who both had good games against teams like Dorman and Byrnes in our scrimmage. Dixon's father played in the NFL, and he may not be as tall as Clowney but he is just as big. He is a 4.6 guy and he is just as strong so he plays some inside for us. He has written offers from North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, and he visited Georgia with Clowney," said Coach Carroll.
Clowney is already becoming a national recruit, but his coach says he is taking it all in stride. In fact, Clowney does not appear to even realize how coveted a target he has already become.
"I have a round table here in my office that is about 6 or 8 inches deep in letters. Clowney came in here and thumbed through some of them and said "Coach, why are they sending me all of these letters, they have already sent me my written offers?" He doesn't even pay attention to that stuff. He is just a great kid who lives day to day," said Carroll.
Two things are in favor for Georgia according to Coach Carroll.
"I told him he gets to take one guest to Georgia, he immediately said he wanted to take his dad. That is just the kind of young man he is, and having a parent see the school with him should be big for the Bulldogs' chances. I know he is open to leaving the state, and the only thing he said about where he goes to play college football is that he does not want to play somewhere cold," said Carroll.
The Bulldogs were in on Clowney at the very beginning, making sure he got a written offer as soon as possible.
"I was getting a little bit of mail before from Georgia, but as soon as September 1st came I got an offer and a lot of mail from Georgia. Coach (Jon) Fabris, I talked to him as well," said Clowney.
Clowney admitted he did not know a lot about Georgia, but he also said that was true about most of the schools after him.
"I know they have a good program and a good team. I know I have about 10-15 schools that have offered that I do not know a lot about. Florida stands out as well, since they have a pair of titles. Right now, I want to go out of state," added Clowney.
Clowney racked up 65 tackles and 12 sacks on a Stallion defense that was among the best in the south. This year, opposing teams know all about the big defensive lineman. That has allowed others on the team to excel, even though Clowney still has four sacks in two games. One of those players hopes to carry the success into college as well, possibly with Clowney.
"I had a good season I feel, even though I played with a broken ankle. We went 15-0 last year, and we let everyone know we are a good team and now they are on the lookout for us. So now I get double teamed a lot, but that just opens it up for my teammates to make big plays. My teammate Gerald Dixon, he says he is going to try and go wherever I go," said Clowney.
The relentless pash rusher went to Georgia hoping to see how the Bulldogs played as a team, and how they reacted on the sidelines to adversity. Clowney admitted he had been to four South Carolina games before, and so this would be a good barometer for the two programs.