By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer)
Jadeveon Clowney is the number one prospect for the 2014 NFL Draft. In fact, he would have been the number one pick in the 2013 NFL Draft if it weren’t for the three-year rule used to declare who’s eligible. The All-American pulled himself from the lineup Saturday night right before the team took the field, citing strained muscles around his ribs as the reason for concern. Coach Steve Spurrier is unsure if Clowney will be ready to play this Saturday against Arkansas. Spurrier said, “If he wants to play, we’ll welcome him to come play for this team if he wants to.” It appears the Gamecocks are ready to move on without Clowney if need be, but the hope is that he will return at some point. The media are having a field day with Clowney, stating that he is a quitter and that he has no heart. The only reason this is even a story is because of how late he waited to tell his coaches he wasn’t playing. I imagine Clowney wanted to play, and that he was seriously considering playing until coming to a smart decision. Obviously, Clowney knows his body better than anyone, and if he felt he couldn’t go then he was right to sit out. The kid does have his future to look out for, and he will be in jeopardy of losing a ton of money if he gets seriously injured. It’s amazing that a college athlete can miss one game, and be scrutinized so heavily. Expectations are incredibly high for Clowney, but for now he is still a kid and he deserves better. If he was able to go pro the second he was ready and able, he would without a doubt be playing through this injury for his NFL team. He doesn’t get paid to play at South Carolina, so why should he be forced to play through an injury? He is the one with the most to lose, so we should give him a pass on this one.