|No way quarterbacks and left tackles aren't still intimidated...|
Since joining the Gamecocks, Clowney has been an unstoppable force. Several scouting reports of him coming out of high school said that he could have made the jump to the NFL then and still be a first round pick. He has unparalleled athleticism and technique that is beyond his years. The real issue with this falls back to the NCAA. The NCAA and NFL mandate that a player be three years removed from highschool, meaning that kids like Clowney are forced into playing when they well know that they could be in the NFL. This isn't the first time that a player has been overqualified for the college by his sophomore year. But the NCAA knows that it will not make money if the best players are constantly leaving for the NFL while still underclassmen. Basketball doesn't have this issue because there isn't a talent age gap. You consistently see incoming freshman who will future number one picks single handedly bring millions in for their school in one year. If you can find the whole interview with Spurrier from 10/8, he even says that the university should be thankful to Clowney for not just the wins but the revenue he has brought in.
There really is nothing wrong with that at all. Every program has a major sport that earns money for the school. But where it becomes bothersome is the fact that Clowney is being labelled as selfish for his actions. Why? Because he wants to earn a fraction in the NFL of what he made for the Gamecocks? Because he doesn't want to end up in the same situation that his team mate Marcus Lattimore faced? According to a Forbes article, Lattimore lost an estimated eight million dollars because of the injury he sustained his junior year, the year after tearing his other knee apart. This is Clowney's (and a lot of other athletes') livelihood at stake here. If the NCAA is not going to compensate players for putting their bodies on the line every day, then they should not be able to mandate when a player leaves for the NFL. Why regulate that players must be in college for three years? If a scout tells them they could easily be drafted, then what are they gaining by coming back from that extra year? The NCAA obviously doesn't care if it's used to get your degree or else they would mandate that as the minimum requirement for going to the pros.
And the notion that Clowney is hurting his draft stock is laughable. Like I said, scouts have said that he could have been a first rounder coming out of high school. He dominated the SEC for two straight years. Do you really think he suddenly has lost talent? Did the MonStars from Space Jam came down and drain his powers or something? Its an insane notion. Depending on who is picking at the top, Clowney could still easily be number one overall. Remember, he still did this less than a year ago...