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.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah