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Jadeveon Clowney ran a 4.5 at 270 lbs during workouts

Outback Bowl - Michigan Wolverines v South Carolina Gamecocks Getty Images

Tom Rinaldi‘s job at ESPN is to make people cry. He did so again on Tuesday when he reported that South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, at 270 pounds, ran a 4.5 40-yard dash during winter workouts.

Regarding whether the time was official or unofficial, the real question is does it truly matter? Clowney doesn’t have “SEC speed” because that would imply that he’s the same caliber athlete as that portion of the college football population. He isn’t — he’s the top 1 percent, leading me to believe he’s actually Predator — and that’s been well documented since before he arrived at South Carolina two years ago. What he did during winter workouts isn’t normal. At all.

Clowney’s abilities alone have most believing he’ll be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft, regardless of injury, numbers, or even the zero-to-none chance that he sits out the 2013 season.

It’s asinine that he has to play another year in college at all, but thems the rules.

He’ll also be in the Heisman discussion with a realistic chance of being a true defense-only player to win the award. When I think Heisman, I think game changers and game changing moments.  There was perhaps no truer definition of the phrase this past bowl season than Clowney’s hit on Michigan’s Vincent Smith one play after the Wolverines received a bogus first down from the game’s officials.

Of course, there’s a lot of time and plenty of football to be played between now and December, so no one’s confirming his flight to New York quite yet. Just like there’s no guarantee Clowney will succeed at the next level because his 40 time is absurd. It goes without saying that players are significantly better in the NFL and there’s an extra amount of personal sacrifice he will have to make.

The only thing we do know is that Clowney is a rare breed. And NFL organizations already understand that.

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29 Responses to “Jadeveon Clowney ran a 4.5 at 270 lbs during workouts”
  1. Brad Smith says: Mar 5, 2013 3:44 PM

    He should be allowed to work in the NFL.

  2. osage44 says: Mar 5, 2013 3:49 PM

    Clowney’s reported 40 time isn’t worth the hand-held home-cookin’ two-dollar stopwatch it was recorded on. And it is just unseemly for CFT writers to pucker up and kneel down for teen-aged college athletes.

  3. scalpemseminoles says: Mar 5, 2013 4:02 PM

    aside from that single hit in the michigan game that is all over the internet, he didn’t have as good of a game as his hype made me think he would. Him an te’o both left me scratching my head in the postseason.

  4. barnesaintnoble says: Mar 5, 2013 4:10 PM

    Could he just go to the CFL for a year and then enter the NFL draft next season? It would make him a trailblazer and allow him to show that the NFL and NCAA cannot just collude into creating a de facto farm system.

    He is so good and will almost always be double teamed (if not triple teamed), which I think would only increase the risk of injury.

  5. bigjdve says: Mar 5, 2013 4:28 PM

    The rule that doesn’t allow him into the NFL is a smart rule. It isn’t about injuries on the field, it is about trying to allow them some time to mature into adults first.

    We hear about all the athlete’s now that aren’t smart enough to stay out of trouble with the 3 years, what do you think would happen by letting them in earlier?

    Not to mention, it is good for those people that are being shown that they should expect entitlements, to see that they are still subject to the rules.

    We all know this young man can play football, let’s also try to make sure that he can be a man as well.

  6. noring4youstill says: Mar 5, 2013 4:36 PM

    I would have no problem what so ever with the Saints tanking this entire season for this guy.

  7. alligatorsnapper says: Mar 5, 2013 4:37 PM

    Clowney is indeed rare. He will be a force that few teams will want to face next season.

    That makes the job LSU that “the ole man” Josh Dworaczyk did on Clowney the whole game at LSU, greatly contributing to LSU’s win over South Carolina.

  8. woebegong says: Mar 5, 2013 5:11 PM

    The young man is a freight train, and you kind of hate to be in his way.

  9. normtide says: Mar 5, 2013 7:32 PM

    No denying this kid is a beast. But, we THINK he will be great in the NFL. There is a long lost of great college players who bust in the NFL. The boz, Leaf, or Russell ring a bell? Plus countless others, and many who stay in the league, but just as average players. I won’t bet against him, but there are no sure things.

    As for having to wait, that’s a great rule. College basketball has become a sad joke. And football players need time to mature, both body and mind.

  10. Duke says: Mar 5, 2013 7:47 PM

    Man, I sure wish FSU was able to land Clowney. I bet with Sunseri they could have nabbed him. Can you imagine a 4-man rotation of Clowney, Werner, Jenkins, and Carradine?

  11. 10of14 says: Mar 5, 2013 7:48 PM

    This translates to 4.7 on NFL Combine watches…ask many of the premier athletes this year that ran 4.5 times “in college” and then recorded a time of 4.7 at the combines. He had a great hit in the bowl game, but only had 6 tackles total. He is a beast, but let’s relax a bit and see how this plays out.

  12. eaglesooneru2 says: Mar 5, 2013 9:27 PM

    He is a freak but he’s not a constant disruptive force. He’s good for a few explosive plays a game but is a ghost most snaps.

  13. beardown2489 says: Mar 5, 2013 10:39 PM

    People do realize he was unblocked, right. There are other plays I would look to if I was trying to prove he was a beast. But that’s just me I guess

  14. thefiesty1 says: Mar 5, 2013 11:33 PM

    One hit in the Michigan bowl game doesn’t make him an NFL phenom. 4.5 is good for his position but let’s wait another yer and see if that improves. Then crown him.

  15. raiderufan says: Mar 6, 2013 7:24 AM

    I watched the Rinaldi interview and you know what I got from it? That Clowney is a kid with exceptional talent that loves college and the college game. All this other stuff from the media pushing and pulling him all over with grand ideas of how he should approach his future are just embarassing and annoying.

    How many kids get in the NFL and realize that the body they have is now a personal business and lose touch with the game?

    If that one play never happens Clowney is simply the kid everyone puts at the tops of the list for next year and can’t wait to watch. Meet one RB as he gets the ball in a meaningless bowl game and now he’s supposed to make history? Sit out from the game and the university he loves? I just wish the media would let him be and let him mature even more. Seems the fans and Clowney are the only ones noticing he has room to improve.

  16. gatorprof says: Mar 6, 2013 8:41 AM

    Clowney is a larger version of the original freak, Jevon Kearse. Kearse ran a 4.58 40 at the combine weighing 262 lbs. He ran a 4.43 at the Gator pro day.

    Only two questions remain about Clowney, health and heart at the NFL level. Health is not really something that he can control, ditto for heart. Clowney hasn’t been the most consistent player in college. This leads, rightfully, to questions about his heart.

    Kearse was insane as a rookie and for his first few years, but then busted his foot. He was never the same after that. The knee injury was his coup de grace.

    Clowney is a thicker build that Kearse. Kearse had to struggled to put on and keep on weight, Clowney is just naturally a big kid. Kearse came to UF weighing 210 lbs. He often dipped into the 240s, high 230s as a pro.

    I hope that the natural size and strength that Clowney possesses will help his durability. I hope that he will be relentless (think LT in his prime) and use his gifts to the fullest.

  17. gatorprof says: Mar 6, 2013 8:52 AM

    I see some misguided comments about him being overrated because of the UM game and viral hit video.

    First off, watch him play each week against the very best competition in the SEC. The fact that top coaches, who coach top talent year in and year out gush about his ability and play is more useful then a few keyboard talent scouts.

    He is a very disruptive force (i.e., best DL player in the college fooball by a larger margin) at times, while other times he seems to coast. This could be immaturity where he just needs to learn to take a professional approach to the game or it could be a heart issue in which deep down he isn’t a relentless player.

    Sharif Floyd will be a top 5 pick this year, rightfully so, but he really doesn’t compare to Clowney if I were going to draft a player.

  18. jonkybon says: Mar 6, 2013 10:25 AM

    Clowney is earning every dime Spurrier and the boosters are paying his old man as well as the brand new Euro car every year.

  19. woebegong says: Mar 6, 2013 11:06 AM

    Not a real fan of Spurrier’s here, but I am just wondering , if you have proof of your accusations?
    I seriously doubt it.

  20. joewilliesshnoz says: Mar 6, 2013 1:41 PM

    There’s gonna be a lot of teams tanking it down the stretch to get this guy.

  21. gatorprof says: Mar 6, 2013 1:54 PM


    Put up or shut up.

    Spurrier has always ran a clean program and never had a problem lobbing bombs at those who didn’t. I don’t always agree with his methods, but he does run a clean program. The Gators found out just how clean it was when they got to compare it to Zook and Meyer.

  22. burntorangehorn says: Mar 6, 2013 3:02 PM

    “osage44 says:
    Mar 5, 2013 3:49 PM
    Clowney’s reported 40 time isn’t worth the hand-held home-cookin’ two-dollar stopwatch it was recorded on.”

    This is absolutely correct. I remember when Michael Vick, fresh off taking the Hokies to the title game against FSU, supposedly ran a series of 40s in off-season workouts, and the reports said the *slowest* time was a 4.18. Hand-timed 40s are just ridiculous to use as a basis for comparisons, because the human factors (sympathy, reaction time, anticipation, etc.) render them worthless.

    An electronic time for Clowney would almost certainly be in the 4.70 to 4.80 range, which is still terrific at that size. The only person I can recall with his kind of size/strength/speed combo was Mario Williams (4.66sec, 35 reps of 225lbs on bench, 40.5″ vertical at 6’7″ 295lbs.), and he went #1 overall. Clowney’s a little shorter, a good 20-25lbs. lighter, and a little slower, but he’s growing. By the time Clowney gets the pre-draft training under his belt a year from now, I think he’ll have a great shot at beating some of those measurables.

  23. tedstheman says: Mar 6, 2013 3:02 PM

    Until he is timed by pro scouts who know how to time, that time is meaningless BS!

  24. cosanostra71 says: Mar 6, 2013 3:33 PM

    There is no question he is physically ready for the NFL, he is a fantastic athlete and will end up being a good NFL player, at worst.

    But the rule doesn’t exist for players like Clowney. They are incredibly rare. They exist for every other NCAA football player that thinks they’re ready but aren’t. They exist because of the Maurice Claretts and Mike Williams of the world.

  25. jonkybon says: Mar 6, 2013 5:45 PM

    woebegong says:
    Mar 6, 2013 11:06 AM
    Not a real fan of Spurrier’s here, but I am just wondering , if you have proof of your accusations?
    I seriously doubt it.

    Proof of what?

    I have two children in college and they have friends at USC-east. The kids are amazed Clowney was seen driving on campus in a new BMW. A different colored one then he drove last year.

    His father’s employment is well documented and has been written about. Nothing the NCAA can do because someone not officially offiliated with the school, but a huge donor, employed Clowney Sr in 2011 after JD committed to USC-East.

    To Gatorproof:
    Spurrier runs such a clean program that the Shamecocks are on probation for the second time in the last eight years. The same Lamecock program found guilty of inappropriate benefits at the Whitney Hotel to the tune of over $60K. If you honestly think Spurrier had no knowledge, then you haven’t a clue how college athletes are handled.

    Spurrier taught Zook how to be a scumbag.

  26. jonkybon says: Mar 6, 2013 5:48 PM

    PS: That doesn’t even count the fact that in the last five years, USC-east has had more felony charges to athletes then any two other programs combined.

    How many chances did Spurrier give Garcia until he finially had a replacement? Five? Six? Seven?

  27. clemsonstillsucks says: Mar 6, 2013 10:47 PM

    @ Jonk

    Of course – any second (or third) hand information is completely reliable. And I’m sure this information made its way to Clemson in an objective manner.

    I heard Dabo was dropping Franklins all over Thee Doll House and was tipping with 8-balls.

    Does that make it true? That’s how bull$hit internet rumors get started.

    Make no mistake – there are two truths here: Clowney is a good kid with a love for football and Sweeney is a good coach with a (somewhat misguided) love for Clemson football. Buying into the bull$hit rumors is asinine.

    Other than that – how’s your off season going?

  28. clemsonstillsucks says: Mar 6, 2013 10:53 PM

    LOL – as to your Spurrier comment – I will call with “Tommy Bowden” and raise with a “Danny Ford.”

    ps – I heard he was giving incorrect change to the kids at Chuck E. Cheese…..

  29. 8to80texansblog says: Mar 12, 2013 3:58 PM

    Duke says:
    Mar 5, 2013 7:47 PM
    Man, I sure wish FSU was able to land Clowney. I bet with Sunseri they could have nabbed him. Can you imagine a 4-man rotation of Clowney, Werner, Jenkins, and Carradine?


    I saw Tank Carradine in Houston the other day at a carwash rocking his Combine sweater.

    Camaro SS… Guess he hasn’t got that NFL payday yet.

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