I am not a huge fan of college sports for many reasons. We could go on all day about those reasons but one particular reason is becoming a big topic among college football talking heads these days…the Jadeveon Clowney injury dilemma this past week!
For those of you who are not familiar with this young man here is a quick run down. To be fair, all I know is what I have seen and heard about him on Sportscenter. What I see (I’m no professional judge of talent) is a kid with freakish athletic ability. He plays the defensive end position and is entering his junior year at the University of South Carolina. At 20 years old he is 6’6″ and 274lbs. He is a combination of speed, power and unmatched athletic ability for a guy his size at the college level.
With a little over 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter and his team down by 1 point (Michigan 22 vs South Carolina 21), he broke through the offensive line and crushed the running back for about a 5-6 yard loss created and also recovered a fumble. Now I know I went into typical football fan mode there, but that play was a game changing play for the University of South Carolina. What made this play great was the fact that he ran by the opposing line as if they were standing still at what was probably the most crucial time for his team.
Fast forward to October 2013. It’s been 10 months since everyone in college football sang his praises. These days Clowney is being criticized for sitting out a few games with some nagging, albeit not career threatening, injuries. Some within college football circles, like the face of ESPN College Gameday Kirk Herbstreit, have been critical of Clowney. They have called him a distraction to his team and even calling for him to leave the locker room. Now Mr. Herbstreit was a good college QB who, from what I can tell, had a productive four-year career at perennial powerhouse Ohio State University. I am not sure if Kirk ever had an opportunity to play at the pro level. My question to Kirk would be, “how can you judge a kid who has the chance to fulfill a childhood dream and play in the NFL when you have never been a pro prospect?”
The chance to be a top 5 pick in any pro sport has a profound affect on not only the athlete’s life but also the life of his family. College football players, especially those as talented as Clowney are offered a full college scholarship, room & board and all of the other things that go along with a full scholarship that some families may not be able to afford otherwise. This compared to the money generated by a kid with JC’s talent for the school and networks like ESPN really can’t be compared.
I’d also like to add that a talented running back by the name of Marcus Lattimore, who coincidentally also played for the University of South Carolina, suffered two severe knee injuries while in college.
The second injury tore his LCL, PCL & ACL knee ligaments during what would be his final season in college football. I think that we can all agree that this might have hurt his draft stock just a bit. Would an NFL team commit a high draft pick and the money that goes with it to a kid with two surgically repaired knees coming? I don’t think so.
I support JC’s decision to sit it out because if something were to happen which would not allow him to make it to the pros, what are the Kirks of the world then going to say and do for JC.
Now JC is taking the field tomorrow and I have a few questions for readers.[su_note note_color=”#caeefc” text_color=”#000000″]Do you feel JC is wrong for sitting and nursing his minor injuries in preparation for the upcoming draft? How do you feel about him being judged by people who never had the chance to live out a dream like playing in the NFL?[/su_note]