INDIANAPOLIS–South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney faced an inquisition of sorts in his press conference at the scouting combine on Saturday.
Why the dip in stats in 2013, he was asked?
“Going into last season, I had a lot of high expectations of myself. Things don’t always happen like you plan on. I was really trying to break the (career) sack record for us for the next guys coming in. There were a lot of ups and downs but we won 11 games, were 11-2, won our bowl game, finished No. 4 in the country for the first time in South Carolina history, so I was pretty excited about the season. I wasn’t worried about my stats, really. A lot of game changing went on when we played teams. Quick passes, two-on-one, opposite-side runs, but that happens. I wasn’t really worried about my stats, I just wanted to win,” Clowney answered.
It was thought Clowney would’ve been the first overall pick of the 2013 draft, had he been eligible. Eligibility rules, however, forced him to wait another season. Some have accused him of playing not to get hurt in 2013, but it doesn’t appear to have hurt his draft stock. It’s believed he’ll be the first overall pick of the 2014 draft.
Will you try to convince the Texans to take you No. 1?
“Of course. That’s one of my goals here, to go No. 1. I came out of high school as the No. 1 player so I want to come out of here as the No. 1 guy,” Clowney said.
Were you protecting your draft stock this past season?
“It wasn’t about that. I was out there trying to help my team win games. I wasn’t worried about draft stock or nothing. That will take care of itself. I was out there trying to make plays for my team, no matter what it took,” he answered.
Clowney claimed he gave no consideration to sitting out the 2013 season.
“The coaches knew I was coming back. They were like, ‘Don’t worry about it, the media is going to talk.’ I said, ‘I am going to be ready to play and help the team win.’ I said, ‘Coach, I am going to try to break the sack record this year.’ He already knew I was going for that tackle-for-loss record, also. I was close on all of them going into my junior year. Things didn’t go as good as possible, but I had a lot of high expectations on myself. I was looking forward to the season. I think I played hard and physical every game,” he said.
Would he have entered the draft in 2013 had he been eligible?
“I came off a great season. If there was a chance, I probably would have, but right now that’s over with. I had to stay a third year, and I did what I had to do, took care of my business with my team, helped them win games. I was excited that we won,” he said.
Clowney said his greatest asset is his speed and hopes to run a 4.4 40 on Monday.
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