ROCK HILL | Not many communities in America are parading their best high school football players in front of their lawmaking bodies.
But it wasnt that odd to see South Carolina signee Jadeveon Clowney honored by the Rock Hill City Council for being the nations best player. You have to understand the importance of football in this Charlotte suburb, and if anybodys prep career is worth this much attention, it certainly is Clowneys.
Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols issued a proclamation during Mondays meeting, noting the litany of honors that Clowney has collected in the past year and congratulating him on his success.
In some ways, the city owes him a great deal. Many of its residents have vicariously lived out there greatest fantasies by following his career, and certainly his consistent appearances on national broadcasts and in national publications have helped bring positive attention to Rock Hill and York County.
Certainly its not often that we have student-athletes that rise to his caliber, Echols said. Weve got a pretty good sports history in Rock Hill, and we just wanted to make sure that we took this opportunity to recognize him. The fact that hes from Rock Hill and gotten not only local and regional attention but also national attention is a real plus for our community.
Though its residents like USC fans probably didnt care for Clowneys decision to wait until after National Signing Day to make his college choice, the city of Rock Hill benefitted in the end just as USCs program did. For an entire day last month, both entities received media attention across the nation, providing insight for Americans into an underdog program and one of the nations best cities for high school football.
Clowney has been as good for Rock Hill as Rock Hill has been for Clowney. Call it a symbiotic relationship.
Its always good when you have the No. 1 recruit in a small town or small city like Rock Hill, South Pointe Athletic Director Mike Drummond said. It brings attention to the city as well as the school.
It was Clowneys exploits that made the Rock Hill City Council take notice of the feats achieved by South Pointe in its short existence. Echols admitted that the council should have honored the program for winning the Class AAAA, Division II state championship in 2008, a team led by USC defensive standouts Stephon Gilmore and DeVonte Holloman.
However, the council couldnt ignore the many achievements that Clowney has received in the past few months and decided that while he was in attendance, it might as well posthumously honor the 2008 team as well.
The city of Rock Hill is extremely proud of him, City Councilman Osbey Roddey said. Hes done extremely done well in sports on the field and hes represented the city extremely well as far as his character and etc.
Its always good for the city when we have [residents] that excel in athletics at any level that represent the city and community well. Were really proud of them.
Perhaps Mondays proceedings revealed one skill that Clowney is yet to master. Hes not comfortable when asked to speak in public. After Echols read the proclamation, he asked Clowney to say a few words.
The 6-foot-6, 248-pounder, who is quite comfortable in interviews, stepped to the microphone but couldnt put an entire sentence together, a smile filling his face as his insecurities became obvious to those in attendance.
However, thats not the lasting legacy hell leave on this city, which will likely remember him as the dominant player with the charismatic personality. Hes not ready to script his legacy quite yet, however.
I dont know, he said with a smile. I just play football.