The Hit lives on: Clowney wins ESPY for play of the year

GoGamecocks staff reportsJuly 17, 2013 

2013 ESPY Awards Show

Jadeveon Clowney accepts the award for best play at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

JOHN SHEARER — Invision/AP

Add one more piece of hardware for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

Clowney on Wednesday night won the ESPY Award for best play of the sporting year for his Outback Bowl tackle on Michigan running back Vincent Smith - now known as The Hit.

"This is a blessing to be up here," Clowney said in accepting the award on ESPN just before 11:30 p.m. Eastern. "I just want to thank God, my family, my friends, my teammates and all the people that voted for me. Thank you."

Clowney spent almost four hours answering questions Tuesday at SEC Media Days before arriving back in Columbia around 9 p.m. Tuesday night. He and South Carolina sports information director Steve Fink then flew to Los Angeles at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Clowney’s hit breezed through the first rounds of voting. The Final Four entering Wednesday night were “The Hit,” a high school basketball buzzer beater, a dunk by Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Ray Allen’s 3-pointer that tied Game 6 of the NBA Finals, allowing the Miami Heat to win the NBA title.

“The Hit,” which has garnered more than 5 million hits on YouTube, came with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Gamecocks trailing Michigan 22-21. After Clowney recovered Smith’s fumble, South Carolina went on to a 33-28 win.

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