There has been a lot of buzz around Jadeveon Clowney ever since he was in high school.
Sure, his 2012 season ended with the highlight-reel play of the year with his hit in the Outback Bowl on Michigan's Vincent Smith. This play will live on in the minds of Gamecock fans for decades to come.
People were destined to talk about this young man as he was considered a "once-in-a-lifetime" prospect coming out of high school. He's proven his value on the field already in his two years at South Carolina and most would expect him to be a top five draft pick this season if he were draft eligible.
Injuries are a part of the game. It happens to the best of them. Go look at Marcus Lattimore. Two straight seasons have ended with two devastating knee injuries. This is an exceptional young man with strong faith and a work ethic not seen in most college athletes. Is it fair for Lattimore to suffer these injuries and potentially ruin his chances at a million-dollar payout in the NFL? Absolutely not.
But you know what?
These young men know exactly what they're getting into when they begin to play the game.
This is why Jadeveon Clowney won't sit out the 2013 season even though Tom Sorensen from The Charlotte Observer wrote an article that mentioned, as has others, Clowney should consider skipping the 2013 season to avoid major injury and prepare for the 2014 NFL draft.
Sorensen makes some valid points. He references Lattimore's knee injuries and how it's likely cost him a first-round draft pick and the potential to go undrafted. He references the ever-growing issues with concussions in the NFL that causes lasting issues later in life for professional football players.
Sorensen also says that Clowney should sit out this season and hire an agent and some trainers to prepare him for the 2014 NFL draft. That's a good idea. But it's not a fail-safe for Clowney to avoid injury. How many players have been hurt running drills before a season? How many have had a severe injury jogging, lifting weights and so on?
Yes, Clowney is less at risk of avoiding serious injury by sitting out the season but the risk of injury is still there because that's life. Sometimes, things happen without reason or cause. Who knows...Clowney could get break his ankle by tripping down some stairs or have an injury through an everyday, normal routine.
You can't go through life trying to avoid the dangers around the corner. You think Marcus Lattimore thought once about sitting out the 2012 season after his knee injury that he suffered in 2011? I don't think so. Football players are strong-willed young men and will not sit on the sideline in a bout of fear.
If anything, Clowney will go out and prove even more so that he's deserving of the number one pick in 2014 thanks to his play on the field.
South Carolina is blessed to have Jadeveon Clowney on their team. It'll be even better when Clowney comes roaring through the tunnels of Williams-Brice in 2013 leading the Gamecocks charge towards their first SEC Championship.
Should Clowney sit?
Absolutely not. And I think he'd tell you the exact same thing.
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