USC defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has gained as much notoriety this season for his off the field comments as he has for his on the field work. It started last summer at SEC Media Days and continued right up to the Clemson game week when Clowney stated he had no plans on losing to the Tigers.
Clowney and the Gamecock defense did their part in ensuring a fifth straight Gamecock victory in the series coming up with four turnovers (along with the two on special teams) and holding the Tigers well below their season average in yards and points. The Gamecocks also sacked Tajh Boyd 5 times bringing their sack total against him the past three seasons to 19.
It was another step forward for a Gamecock defense which has improved practically each week of the season. They are now 3rd in the SEC and 17th nationally in total defense, a far cry from where they were early in the season.
Clowney will be one of several key components expected to be missing from next season’s defense. He will be turning pro while defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and cornerback Victor Hampton have also stated their intentions to check out their draft standing. And the Gamecocks will lose seniors in defensive end Chaz Sutton and cornerback Jimmy Legree.