Jadeveon Clowney to South Carolina: Is SEC East theirs?

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Was South Carolina a one trick pony last season? Maybe not.

The Gamecocks, who won their first SEC East Division title and played in their first conference championship game last season, just landed the No. 1 recruit in the country: Jadeveon Clowney.

Even in the uncertain world of recruiting, Clowney is viewed as a difference-maker. He’s a 6-5 defensive end — I’ve seen his weight listed at anywhere from 235 to 252 pounds — who joins a program that generally has had solid defenses. He had 57 sacks in his last two seasons. His arrival follows last year’s addition of running back Marcus Lattimore, who was the biggest key to Steve Spurrier’s offense.

It’s noteworthy that Clowney picked South Carolina over several schools, including Alabama and Clemson.

Granted, it was a down season in the SEC East. South Carolina was the only school with a winning conference record at 5-3. But Clowney’s arrival seemingly affirms the Gamecocks aren’t going anywhere.

Do you agree? Will Georgia bounce back with freshman running back Isaiah Crowell – possibly their version of Lattimore — or will Florida return to the top with new head coach Will Muschamp and Charlie Weis running the offense?

I think we can leave Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt out of this debate.

By Jeff Schultz

Also:

Braves’ spring training: What do you think is No. 1 issue?

Georgia wins but looks like far from an NCAA tournament team

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

547 comments Add your comment

You betcha

February 14th, 2011
10:46 am

You betcha

February 14th, 2011
10:47 am

The chickens always choke at the end of the season. This guy won’t change that.

david

February 14th, 2011
10:52 am

NY Times quoted a prep school coach that he does not have the grades to get into any BCS school. He has several D’s on his transcript.

South Carolina need to replace the SEC version of Jacory Harris at QB, if they are going win the east.

Beast from the East

February 14th, 2011
10:52 am

SC will be the team that is picked by most to win the East this year, but watch out for UF and UGA. Both could have really good seasons, although UF does have the toughest road to Atlanta.

Jerry

February 14th, 2011
10:52 am

Yes, South Carolina will win the SEC East. They got Garcia back, Lattimore back, and now Clowney to anchor the defensive line.

Heavy favorite to win SEC East, all about running the ball, and stopping the run. South Carolina is better than Georgia there. Look for South Carolina to be pre-season top 10 because of this.

johnny too good

February 14th, 2011
10:53 am

I’m not sure we’ll see an immediate impact from this guy…… how often do freshman dlinemen or olinemen make a significant difference?

http://www.youtube.com/thatjohnanderson

johnny too good

February 14th, 2011
10:54 am

UGA is my favorite for the east, depending on how they adjust to their second year in the 3-4, Carolina could sneak in and take it from em

http://www.youtube.com/thatjohnanderson

DawginLex

February 14th, 2011
10:55 am

SC won’t win the East again.

Spurrier gets all this talent year after year and doesn’t do anything with it.

Lost to Vandy 2 years in a row.

Got completely humiliated in the SEC championship game. As crappy as UGA was, we at least gave Auburn a ballgame.

Then he proved that he still can’t beat FSU. Even with their starting QB out.

SC is a one trick pony. All that talent and all those losses.

@DanWeiner

February 14th, 2011
10:56 am

In the past eight seasons only three Freshmen have amassed double digit sacks. Let’s tap the breaks on Clowney being a game changer out of the gate. S. Carolina is the favorite in the East, but not because of him.

Daniel's Dawgs

February 14th, 2011
10:56 am

First off he has to qualify
Second ,he is not in the class of David Pollack who was a 3 time all-american

Jerry

February 14th, 2011
10:57 am

Phil Steele has South Carolina at #10 pre-season, before the Clowney announcement. Steele feels Gamecocks are favored to win SEC East.

http://blog.philsteele.com/2011/02/11/projected-preseason-ap-top-10/#

hipdawg

February 14th, 2011
10:57 am

They will be the favorite in the east .But I like UGA to win it.

Bucket

February 14th, 2011
10:57 am

Interesting that there is no mention of Spurrier oversigning and putting teenagers LOI’s on hold. Just imagine if this was Richt that did this to teenagers. Every AJC sports writer would be writing about it!

Harry T Dawg

February 14th, 2011
10:57 am

I would not sleep on TN. I hate to ever give them credit but Coach Dooley’s got those fellas playing with some heart.

headley lamar

February 14th, 2011
10:57 am

South Carolina is what South Carolina is.

Mediocre program that has never won anything.

That wont change anytime soon.

Depth gets them by the end of the year and they wilt.

Bruce Mac

February 14th, 2011
10:57 am

Have you lost your pee picking mind? USC will never be the favorite to win the East and if it was the favorite it sure wouldn’t be because of a freshman D lineman. Florida will always be the favoriite to win the East at least by intellegent folks. I assume you watched the SEC Championship game and then the bowl. The chickens suck and always will.

Jerry

February 14th, 2011
10:57 am

GSU Eagle 91

February 14th, 2011
10:57 am

I hope the Gamecocks can win the East…I believe the West winner will be decided between Bama and LSU since Auburn will return to 8-4 this Fall…
UGA will not be that good….Of course they do play New Mexico St and Coastal Carolina….Wow….
The unknown here is the FL Gators. As a young team last Fall, they made numerous errors and looked awful at times. I believe they can be a formidable opponent after 1 or 2 games this season, and may take the East if USC falters.
UGA…you dropped Oregon from the schedule…LSU IS playing them…Grow a pair…

AW, I Forget the Secret Knock!

February 14th, 2011
10:57 am

They signed 32 kids. Someone PLEASE bash Spurrier for oversigning. Congratulations to Clowney. SC going to the SECCG is about as frequent as the Hale-Bopp comet. Glad you followed your girlfriend, son. Sheesh.

Beast from the East

February 14th, 2011
10:58 am

“SC is a one trick pony. All that talent and all those losses.”

Lex,
Are you sure you didn’t mean UGA?

The General Feeling

February 14th, 2011
10:58 am

We saw what type of team USCe was when its freshman RB went down – just average. I don’t expect a true freshman DE will make a difference. That said, neither will the entire freshman class at UGA.

Dream On!

headley lamar

February 14th, 2011
10:59 am

Interesting that there is no mention of Spurrier oversigning and putting teenagers LOI’s on hold. Just imagine if this was Richt that did this to teenagers. Every AJC sports writer would be writing about it!

If Richt farts the AJC will write negatively about it. Other programs/coaches are not held to the same standard however.

DawginLex

February 14th, 2011
10:59 am

Phil Steele had UGA going 11-1 last year too………………

GSU Eagle 91

February 14th, 2011
10:59 am

Last time I checked….
USC beat UGA in 2010…Of course so did Central FL….LOL

Reggie

February 14th, 2011
10:59 am

Howard Stern

February 14th, 2011
11:00 am

Typical salty bulldog fans. Get used to life battling for the cellar with Vandy and Kentucky. As long as Richt is your head coach, you’re not going anywhere. You can’t deny that. He doesn’t have the fire needed to compete. Here’s to more USC dominance over lowly georgia.

Seriously though…georgia sucks. HAHAHAHA

DawginLex

February 14th, 2011
11:00 am

beast,

I know all about UGA but the same applies to Spurrier.

His recruiting classes have been top 20 and overall, he has underachieved at SC.

DC

February 14th, 2011
11:01 am

UGA fans don’t be blinded by your loyalty…SC is the better team in the EAST right now…How can UGA be the favorite?…HOW?? Give me reason instead of oh we got this..year two with murray..

people stating that SC will win the east has given reasons..just reasons…

“Spurrier cant win the big game…”..they did last year (in the east)…

War Eagle

February 14th, 2011
11:01 am

Come on. They had one good year. Lord knows that SC will choke in the near future. It would be nice to GA step up during times like these with Florida and TN having their problems. Down on the plains we got a shot in the arm with Chizik and company. It’s nice to see the sense of urgency in our staff. Richt had a nice class again this year although let’s see if it pans out on the field. My guess is that he will resign after this season with GA having another bad year.

headley lamar

February 14th, 2011
11:02 am

They signed 32 kids. Someone PLEASE bash Spurrier for oversigning.

Not going to happen. Not by a long shot.

Let a UGA player get a parking ticket this morning however.

Beast from the East

February 14th, 2011
11:02 am

Lex,
He’s done more at Duke, UF and then USC than anyone has ever done before him. I’d say he’s earned his peer’s respect. Love him or hate him, but you cannot deny he’s a heckuva coach.

Dirty Dawg

February 14th, 2011
11:03 am

I don’t wish to be Pollyanna-ish, but we were one play away – a fumble as I recall – from beating SC this last time and were without AJ. Why would it be that SC should be expected to beat us? Sure we won’t have AJ again, but this defense will be improved against young Mr. Lattimore – all you have to do it hit him in the mouth it would appear – and who knows how much better the rest of the team should be. My point is, it’ll be a close game that we’ll win at home.

DawginLex

February 14th, 2011
11:03 am

With his resume and the talent he has brought in, SC’s best year was 9-5. He has lost to Vandy twice. He lost to UK this year by letting his ego go wild on the last play of the game.

Georgia will beat them in Athens this year and they will go back to 7-5 like always.

SOUTH GA DAWG

February 14th, 2011
11:03 am

LET THE BIG DAWG EAT!!! UGA WILL WIN THE EAST THIS YR!!!

Les W.Moore

February 14th, 2011
11:04 am

If any school is predicting greatness based upon a recent signing class, then they are simply fooling themselves. Sorry mutt fans and chicken lovers but NO freshman class has EVER won the SEC.

Veee-eeern! VERRRN-OOO!

February 14th, 2011
11:04 am

@headley lamar … I had to try.

headley lamar

February 14th, 2011
11:05 am

72-66-1 .

Thats Spurriers record when he didn’t have the superior talent of a Florida.

Most overrated coach of all time.

Flopped in the pros. Only won 1 NC at Florida with all that talent.

cb

February 14th, 2011
11:05 am

DawginLex, you just described every UGA team since ever. Carolina has NEVER had the talent to compete, until recently. And they are only getting more of it. Your coaches at UGA could have the 2010 Green Bay Packers and still not win the SEC. They are not good at developing talent. The Carolina game is going to be a probable loss for the Dawgs for the foreseeable future.

Jerry

February 14th, 2011
11:06 am

Jeffery at WR (better than Georgia), Lattimore at RB (better than Georgia), Garcia at QB (better than Georgia), Clowney at DE ( better than Georgia).

I’d acutally think South Carolina will be favored to beat Georgia by 17.

Not Don Waddell

February 14th, 2011
11:06 am

I thought for the last couple of years that Cliff Matthews was the most underrated player in the SEC. That guy was an absolute beast for 4 years. If Clowney is better than Matthews was, then Scu will be a real threat to again go 8-4. Devin Taylor is a monster, too.

DawginLex

February 14th, 2011
11:07 am

Les,

I expect only 3 of the signees to start and one of them is a JUCO transfer. some of the other signees will provide depth, especially on special teams.

UGA has enough returning to be competitive without starting 20 freshmen.

I’m saying 9-3 at best.

WDE

February 14th, 2011
11:07 am

Don’t sleep on Tennessee.

Whiskey Clear

February 14th, 2011
11:07 am

DawginLex – You’re talking about SC getting all that talent and not doing anything with it? I guess you would know since Georgia is a perfect example of that very thing. Here comes another 8-4 season with a top 10 recruiting class.

Beast from the East

February 14th, 2011
11:07 am

headley,
It’s easy to pick apart anyone’s resume when you leave out their best years. How would Richt fare if you took out his best 5 seasons? Or any other coach for that matter. Yes, he did flop in the pros, but he’s one of the best in college. Don’t let your hatred blind you.

Howard Stern

February 14th, 2011
11:07 am

Oh, to live in georgia dream land where their fans think they can compete. I love reading all the what-if’s. “IF we hadn’t fumbled…”, “IF we had AJ…”, “IF we hadn’t lost to UCG…”. Ha. UGA is just a bad team. Its that simple. Granted, not as bad as Allburn is going to be again…but still really, really bad.

Bucket

February 14th, 2011
11:08 am

Richt is an easy target because he turns the other cheek and, let’s be honest, the last couple of years have been bad with losses and arrests. But these sportswriters know that Saban, Meyer, Spurrier will embarrass them at the SEC meeting if they dare criticize their teams’s oversigning or arrests.

DawginLex

February 14th, 2011
11:08 am

jerry,

Garcia better than Murray?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA

Garcia may not even start on his own team.

Jerry

February 14th, 2011
11:08 am

This is terrible for georgia, worst news all season. Doesn’t look good, Georgia starts 0-2 again, no way that doesn’t happen now.

Freddie's Falcon

February 14th, 2011
11:08 am

DAWGS BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not Don Waddell

February 14th, 2011
11:10 am

Now Jerry, there is scarcely a single, knowledgeable college football fan outside of South Carolina that would take Garcia over Aaron Murray. Garcia played the game of his life against Bama, and other than that, he has been mediocre for 3 years, with a lot of terrible sprinkled in.

If Garcia had not wet the bed last year, Auburn would have lost early, the SEC would not have protected the cheating Newtons and Auburn would be on the verge of the death penalty right now. Instead, they were given the chance to keep Newton eligible in order to protect the SEC financially, and it will be at least 2 years before they are stripped of the MBCS, Newton’s Heisman is taken and Auburn goes on probation again.