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The Weirdest Story of the College Football Offseason: South Carolina continues to blow my mind.


Jadeveon Clowney said last week at SEC Media Days that he stays out of trouble by staying out of bars and off of Twitter.

He might have been telling the truth.  But this week he took to Instagram (Twitter for hipster photo-gurus like Jadeveon) and posted this:

JC IG

 

 

To be clear: I’m not alleging anything at all regarding Clowney and Beyonce’s husband.  Collegiate players are allowed to talk with agents.  They just can’t sign with agents or receive any benefits from agents.  So Clowney was not admitting any wrongdoing.  But, he was kind of opening himself up for some digging.

Let’s put it this way: if I had a no-compete clause at my real-world job that said I couldn’t sign a contract with any other financial firm, I probably wouldn’t Tweet about having dinner with a competitor.  Is having dinner with a rival firm illegal per my contract?  No.  But why would I subject myself to that extra degree of suspicion and investigation.

Clowney might not have been that smart (that’s probably why he deleted the post so quickly), but he didn’t do anything that violates an NCAA rule…at least not according to Instagram.  But of course, South Carolina then had the obligation to dig around and make sure everything was in order.

They determined that to be the case, and South Carolina Assistant AD Steve Fink offered the following statement:

Based on the facts that USC has gathered, Jadeveon Clowney has not had any impermissible conversations nor has he received any impermissible benefits.

That’s good news for just about everyone including, but not limited to: Jadeveon, South Carolina Football, Jay Z, the NCAA, Defense, etc.  It’s bad news for opposing players and concussions.

For me: it’s very bizarre news.  Because the statement South Carolina Assistant AD Steve Fink released was hand-written.  Who does that?  South Carolina blows my mind.

 

This press release is the single weirdest thing that has happened all offseason.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Rants from SEC Media Days: Spurrier, Clowney, Les Miles, Johnny Football and You


With SEC Media Days now complete here are three things that I want to rant about.

Steve Spurrier opened SEC Media Days by wearing a face that matched his own tie.  Via.

Steve Spurrier opened SEC Media Days by wearing a face that matched his own tie. Via.

Johnny Manziel and the dichotomy of being a 20-year-old celebrity.

There was no neutral ground for Johnny Manziel at SEC Media Days.  You loved him or you hated him.  He was praised for displaying the same confidence and composure that that won him the Heisman Trophy while being peppered with questions under the spotlight.  He was critiqued for showing too much arrogance.  There was no middle ground.

As much as I hate making the comparison, he matched Tim Tebow’s ability to polarize a room – and more universally, the internet.  At the very crux of all the Manziel chatter is the predicament that he finds himself in.  The issue is not the Manning Passing Academy.  The issue is not underaged drinking (alleged).  The issue is not what his family can and cannot afford.  The issue is this: Johnny Manziel is twenty years old and he is famous.  Really, really, famous.  Really, really twenty years old.

He’s the most popular college football player on the planet and one of the most famous figures in his sport’s history.  But he’s twenty years old.  He was the youngest player ever to win one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports, but he’s still young.  His fame and his age are not two mutually exclusive characteristics.  They are very much coinciding.

People struggle to comprehend how Johnny Football can claim to be a “normal” twenty year-old college kid while describing the highlights of his offseason as, “Meeting Drake backstage at his concert in Toronto before flying to Cabo for Spring Break and later getting to chill with LeBron James.”  At first glance, maybe those two concepts – the “normal young kid” notion and the “rock star” persona – disagree with each other.  But maybe, just maybe, slightly deeper thinking can explain the paradox.

Could it be that when Manziel refers to himself as a “normal” college kid he really means, “I’m doing what any other college kid would do if he/she was given my opportunities.”  Because that’s a statement that I can rally behind.  As Daniel Palmer said on the podcast on Wednesday, “Give me his arm, his talent, his fame and his family’s money and things get way worse for me.  And I’m 28!”

We live in a controversy-driven culture.  The internet had exacerbated that problem.  But if you can’t see that Johnny Manziel is equal parts normal kid and celebrity, then you have less common sense than society seems to think he has.

“But,” you may say, “Look at A.J. McCarron?  He is humble, quiet, well-mannered and always out of the spotlight.”

All of that is true.  A.J. McCarron, however, does not have a Heisman Trophy.  A.J. McCarron is not bankrolled by a wealthy family.  This is not intended as an insult, but A.J. McCarron doesn’t have Johnny Manziel’s charisma or personality either.  McCarron is humble and polite.  Manziel dominates a room.  These are two different quarterbacks from two different backgrounds who behave in two different ways.  I’m not going to condemn one for being wrong and award one for being right.

Manziel’s social life is capitalizing on his opportunities.  For McCarron he capitalizes with National Championships.  Each is true to himself.  You could make a darn compelling case that each is living the better life.

 

 Is anybody else over Jadeveon Clowney?

I stand by everything that I have ever said about Jadeveon Clowney.  He’s a beast.  He plays his position better than any player in the country plays theirs.  He’s scary.  He’s not human. But good gracious his legend is growing awfully out of control.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I didn’t think Clowney would live up to the offseason hype.  My reasoning: the hype is darn-near unparalleled to begin with for a defensive player, his defense lost a lot of talent and teams may be able to scheme better for him and he doesn’t put up statistically monstrous games on a consistent level.  Those are admittedly nit-picky criticisms but when we’re dealing with hoopla that is unprecedented (and I think we are for a defensive player), sometimes it takes some controversial disputing over minuscule points to disqualify someone.

I learned one thing when I wrote that article: NOBODY TALKS BAD ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA’S BELOVED BABY JADEVEON!!!.  NOT NOBODY, NOT NO HOW!!!!

First of all, the guys more than capable of defending himself.  Secondly, I don’t think anybody is really talking trash about Jadeveon (he’s the only one doing that).  Thirdly, just because Jadeveon is a once in a generation talent at the collegiate level does not mean he’s above reproach:

  • He has a tendency to take plays off.
  • He struggles at times in run defense.
  • He is not the most attractive fellow in the world.

All-SEC teams were voted on during Media Days.  Twenty people did not vote for Clowney on the First Team.  Outrage ensued.  Do I think Clowney is First Team material?  Absolutely.  Was I surprised that he wasn’t a unanimous choice?  Somewhat, but things are rarely unanimous these days (remember, we love controversy).

People went absolutely nuts about it.  Even former Georgia Bulldog turned hater David Pollack weighed in on Twitter saying, “All 20 of the 240 media members who didn’t vote Clowney First-Team All SEC, should never be able to vote again.”

Really, D.P?  Never vote again?  Isn’t that a little strong?  Keep in mind, this is a Pre-Season vote.  The goal of the vote is to predict what will happen this year.  I can think of a number of reasons why someone could conceivably think Clowney wouldn’t finish as one of the two best DEs in the league:

  • Maybe somebody saw a rising star at the DE position while covering the beat trail for his/her college team this Spring.  Maybe somebody is saying, “That kid can be better than Jadeveon Clowney.”  I bet the folks at Ole Miss are hoping Robtert Nkedkdmfdmdsfeche (spelling?) can be.
  • Maybe a voter has heard something about Jadeveon’s offseason workouts.  Yes he’s reportedly run incredible 40 times and benchpressed entire planets, but maybe he’s been letting off the gas a bit.
  • Maybe somebody sees the way he plays and says, “For some reason I think all of his flailing and jumping over blockers is going to get him hurt.”

I’m not saying that I agree with any of the things I listed above or that I’ve heard any such inklings, but I haven’t seen what every voting Media member has seen either.

Jadeveon Clowney is great.  But South Carolina fans – and now fans in general – are putting a hell of a lot of pressure on him.

 

Les Miles is a Gift

Les Miles is an absolute treasure to college football.  He dropped knowledge on the unevenness of SEC scheduling in a very non-Spurrier way (meaning he had facts that weren’t simply demonstrative of his team’s fortune or misfortune).  He spoke eloquently about his coaching staff, players and other personnel.  He spoke with an Australian accent for a spell (seriously).  He talked about Twitter, the United State of America and the Harlem Shake.

Les Miles was great.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Replacing South Carolina’s “Ace-in-the-Hole”


At the end of the 2012 season, Ace Sanders broke the hearts of Gamecock Nation by forgoing his Senior season to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.  Now, Gamecock fans everywhere have been wondering, “Who will replace Ace?”  It’s a very logical question, but not entirely for his receiving yards.  On the season, he had 45 catches for 531 yards.  However, he led the team in receiving touchdowns (9).  Even with that, you can think, “Okay, that’s manageable.”  Then you look at his work as a Punt Returner.  That’s when you say, “Oh $%!t”  Ace brought life to the punt returns that had been absent for almost ten years (2003 vs. Florida was the last punt return touchdown prior to the 2011 season).  Last season, he lit up the field on punts, amassing a team record 429 yards on 28 returns with two touchdowns.

Now the question is on everyone’s mind.  Who will take his place?  The answer is not simple.  One person will not replace Ace Sanders.  Even if you try Bruce Ellington at punt returner, you still need someone to take his place in the offense.

Let’s start at the receiver position.  I predict Busta Anderson to fill in. (Dude’s Note: McEachern High School whassaaaaaaaaaaap?)  I know, I know.  He’s a tight end, but as Andrew and I discussed briefly on the DudeYouPodcast a few weeks ago, he is a great receiving tight end.  He will assert himself as one of the best tight ends in the nation and look to the Patriots to draft him to replace Aaron Hernandez in the 2014 or 2015 draft.

Now, to fill in as a punt returner.  This is much more difficult given our lackluster special teams play since the Holtz Era.  So, instead, I am going to give a short list of possible replacements that could at least manage the returns.  I don’t expect anyone to build the statistics that Ace did.

Nick Jones would be my first choice.  He has similar size and speed to Ace (Ace: 5’8″ 175 pounds; Nick: 5’7″ 174 pounds … These are their height/weight according to the South Carolina Athletics Site) and he has good moves to avoid the tackles.  Do I think he’ll bulldoze through Mizzou like Ace did?  Probably not, but I do think he would be a good returner.

Incoming freshman, Pharoh Cooper, is expected to get a look this fall.  His senior season in high school was electric.  He dominated as a returner.  He has elite quickness and moves.  My only concern is translating the high school skill into SEC skill.  Not many athletes can translate immediately to the SEC as a freshman with only fall camp under their belt.

Lastly, another incoming freshman I am extremely high on, Jamari Smith.  I have a feeling if he gets a shot, he’ll prosper.  He ran away from defenses for 2800 yards in Florida 8A Ball.

Altogether, I think the Gamecocks will be okay if, and only if, someone steps up as a punt returner.  I hope they don’t make Ellington the punt returner for the sole reason he already returns kickoffs and is a huge part of the offense.  I’m eager to see who fields the punts this year, August 29th is closing in Gamecocks!

It’s great to be a Gamecock!
JB Signing out!

As a Georgia Fan, I’m Really Glad that Aaron Murray is Afraid of Jadeveon Clowney


College football fans were stunned this week to hear that South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney recently ran a 4.46 40-yard dash.  He is 6-6 and 274 lbs. and I repeat: he ran a 4.46 40-yard dash.

At SEC Media Days his head coach, Steve Spurrier, praised his ability to lay low and stay out of the limelight.  Moments later Clowney took a page out of the Ol’ Ball Coach’s playbook and fired some verbal shots.

Clowney mentioned in an interview that he knew several quarterbacks were scared of him.  When asked which ones he responded, “Aaron Murray is one of them,” before listing Clemson signal-caller Tajh Boyd and Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson.

Jadeveon went on to add, “You can look at a guy and tell if he’s scared.  If he’s staring at me before the ball is snapped, if he’s staring at me before every snap, I’m just like, ‘Oh we got him.’”

Aside from the fact that any QB in the country should be looking at Jadeveon Clowney pre-snap (it’s the right thing to do), I think Clowney missed a very key point.

Aaron Murray needs to be afraid of Jadeveon Clowney.  As a Georgia fan I’m OK with that.  Clowney is a skilled player who is certainly capable of hurting Aaron Murray who is nearly 70 pounds smaller.  I don’t want Aaron Murray hurt.  If Murray got hurt who would play QB for the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game?  If Murray had been reckless with his body against South Carolina in 2011 and 2012, Georgia might not have even earned a trip back to Atlanta.

I guess Clowney wouldn’t know anything about that, though.  He’s never played for an SEC Championship.  He’s never needed to be healthy on the first Saturday of December.

Clowney seems to have a somewhat selective memory.  Last year he – and the South Carolina defense as a whole – wreaked havoc on a Georgia offense that was crippled by Special Teams errors, field position and mental mistakes.  Murray’s statline for that game epitomizes the success of the South Carolina defense that day: 11 for 31 passing for 109 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT.

Clowney seems to have forgotten Murray’s 19 of 29 performance in 2011 that yielded 4 TD passes.

He also seems to have forgotten that Georgia is the two-time defending SEC East Champion.  Clowney labeled Florida as South Carolina’s biggest opposition this season.

The real threat to South Carolina this year might be arrogance.  I said earlier this summer on a podcast that this is the peak of South Carolina football.  Clowney and the other Gamecocks seem all too aware of that reality.  And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Spurrier has always had a quick tongue; his jabs are expected.  But Clowney’s mouth runs a 4.46.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

‘Cocks of the Future: South Carolina Recruiting Update


You can tell it is the off-season.

News is fairly scarce, unless you are Aaron Hernandez.  Research is slow, unless you’re a Georgia Mutt awaiting the next suspended player or arrest of a Clemson player.  So, I figured with a recent commitment to the Gamecocks, I would do a quick recruiting update.  Ready, Set, Go!

All star ratings are based on Rivals.com.

So far, the Cocks have eight committed players:

  • Joe Blue   3*   FB
  • Bryson Allen-Williams  4*  LB
  • Kalan Ritchie  4*  TE
  • Malik Young  2*  OL
  • Kevin Crosby  4*  TE
  • Wesley Green  4*  CB
  • Darin Smalls  3*  CB
  • Jhaustin Thomas  3*  DE

 

Jhaustin is a big fan of Muscle Milk - the official sports drink of big ears and angry scowls.  Photo via.

Jhaustin is a big fan of Muscle Milk – the official sports drink of big ears and angry scowls. Photo via.

 

Out of these eight players, I am most impressed with Bryson Allen-Williams.  Not just for his abilities on the field, but for his seemingly limitless commitment to the University of South Carolina.  He’s already acknowledged that most think he is undersized, and has already bulked up to 228 pounds.  Outside of his efforts to be college ready, he is a great recruiter.  Seriously, Coach, we need to get this guy a job as a recruiter after his playing days are over.  He is always talking to prospects, and helped us land a 2015 recruit from his school.  He’s very intelligent, and has a high football IQ, he will be a great player for the Garnet & Black.

Underrated Player Award goes to Malik Young, from what I hear he hasn’t really camped much, which is what has lead him to be ranked so low.

Most disappointing loss this recruiting season so far would have to be Drew Barker to Kentucky.  We led all the way until iJoker got iFired.  Once he was out, the new coaching staff started pursuing and that was it.  Kentucky was his favorite school, he’s from Kentucky, once they offered then it was over.  Can’t blame him for wanting to play for his home state school.  I still want us to register 20 sacks on him over his career.  Sorry, Drew.

Joe Blue is a fullback, I’ve heard rumors about him converting to Linebacker, not entirely sure right now.

Two four star tight ends make me feel very good about the future at that position.  Maybe more two tight end sets?

Who is left on our board that I feel is a MUST GET…  I have to go with Derrell Scott, a speed back that can hit the edge and blow by.  MUST GET.  See this, Coach?

Shout out to Bryson Allen-Williams for the commitment to the University, and helping draw in some other big time players!

As Always, It’s great to be a Gamecock,

JB Signing Off.

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