Clowney, media circus headline Gamecocks' pro day

jkendall@thestate.comApril 1, 2014 

Jadeveon Clowney

TRACY GLANTZ — tglantz@thestate.com

  • USC PRO DAY

    WHAT: Draft-eligible Gamecocks work out for NFL coaches and scouts.

    WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium

    WHEN: Wednesday, 11 a.m.

    FANS: On-field portion is open to public. Enter Gate 4 on west side.

    TV: ESPN and the NFL Network, among others, will be on hand and are expected to provide live look-ins on the air.

    PLAYERS’ SCHEDULE

    In the strength complex:

    1. Broad jump/Vertical jump

    2. Bench Press

    On the field:

    1. 40-yard dash

    2. Short shuttle/3 cone

    3. Individual position workouts

    USC PLAYERS

    Participating in the drills:

    DL: Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles, Chaz Sutton

    OL: Ronald Patrick

    QB: Connor Shaw

    WR: Bruce Ellington, David Wilkins, DeAngelo Smith

    DB: Victor Hampton, Jimmy Legree

The last time Jadeveon Clowney appeared before a large number of NFL talent evaluators, questions about his work ethic dominated the conversation. Those questions remain as Clowney appears for his second and final group job interview Wednesday at South Carolina’s Pro Timing Day in Williams-Brice Stadium.

“When he wakes up tomorrow morning, he is going to be the most talented defensive prospect in the world … but he doesn’t always play that way,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said Tuesday on the Jim Rome Show. “I have significant questions about whether Jadeveon Clowney will show up every Sunday and play at a high level.”

Ten former Gamecocks will work out Wednesday for NFL talent evaluators, but the 123 media members who requested credentials and dozens of NFL executives and coaches will be there mostly to see one. The NFL Network will broadcast Clowney’s workouts live and ESPN’s SportsCenter will carry live look-ins on Clowney, a two-time All-America defensive end for the Gamecocks who set the school’s single-season sack record (13) as a sophomore.

“I am ready,” Clowney said. “I really don’t care if I have changed anybody’s minds. I am just going to keep pushing forward.”

Clowney ran a 4.53 40-yard dash but did not perform on-field positions drills at February’s NFL Combine. He will perform defensive line drills, and linebacker drills if asked, at pro day, he said. NFL teams who run a base 3-4 defense could move Clowney from defensive end to outside linebacker.

Whatever questions there are about Clowney won’t keep him from being picked high in May. The question is: How high? ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects Clowney will be taken No. 3 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. NFL Network analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks have Clowney being selected No. 1 by the Houston Texans. Five CBSSports.com NFL writers picked Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles to be the No. 1 pick and predict Clowney will go No. 2 or No. 3.

Eight representatives of the Texans are expected to attend Wednesday’s event, including coach Bill O’Brien, general manager Rick Smith and owner Bob McNair, a South Carolina graduate. HoustonTexans.com and Jaguars.com are sending reporters.

“He knows what he has to do,” Chicago wide receiver and former Gamecock Alshon Jeffery said. “He’s going to be a great player. He’s going to dominate the league, and he’s going to be a hall of famer.”

“I’d just tell him to go out there and work hard, and any doubt that anybody has just prove them wrong, give it your all,” San Diego Chargers linebacker and former Gamecock Melvin Ingram said. “I know what he is capable of doing, so I expect him to be one of the best.”

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