Many congratulations, Tom Sorenson. You wrote an article about why Jadeveon Clowney should sit out the 2013 season, and you set yourself alight in the Twittersvere, the Facebookvere, and certainly, in the SEC.

In his article, Sorenson basically said that he should sit out South Carolina’s 2013 season, because a) if it was any other sport, he’d be professional by now, and b) if he gets injured, he’ll cheat himself out of a big-time NFL contract, that’s definitely going to come to him in the draft of 2014.

The reason why he’s got to play three years is the fact that the NFL’s rule “stipulates that a player must be at least three years removed from high school before he’s eligible for the draft.

Let’s be honest, I don’t expect Jadeveon Clowney to sit out the 2013 season because of ‘forward-thinking money issues’. Moreover,  I don’t expect Steve Spurrier to say: “Hey Jadeveon, you’ve done really well for the last two years. Please – as the lynchpin of our defense and our SEC Championship hopes – don’t play the next season.” And I don’t expect South Carolina fans say that, either.

Having said that, we can imagine Georgia and Florida fans certainly trying to direct Clowney that way! And don’t expect a lawyer Dawgs fan to be actively lobbying the NFL for a change to their three-year rule.

But shall we quickly get back to the point  – does anyone really expect Clowney not to play the 2013 SEC season? No. Here’s why:

1) Firstly, Clowney is still pretty raw. He’s not the perfect product. He still needs another year in the Lorenzo Ward system, and if you watch the LSU game, you’ll know that when more intelligent quarterbacks/ offensive schemers read his aggressiveness, they can pass it with screens and slants.

2) The pride thing. Clowney’s got more pride than to simply refuse to play a year.

3) The money thing. Does anyone honestly believe that NFL owners/GMs/head coaches will say: “Hey, don’t worry about the 2013 season. You were great for two years. Here’s $21m.” Or the marketing men who will make Clowney the face of the young NFL? Or the agents who will find it difficult to sell two years of Clowney rather than three.

4) The Carolina/SEC thing. South Carolina fans and boosters would be absolutely enraged with the decision. So would Steve Spurrier.

5)  The SEC thing. After all, Clowney’s become a bit of a poster boy for how the SEC dominates other conferences. I wish I was the marketing guy at the SEC. I would do a film of Clowney’s tackle against Michigan and then put out this script: “Welcome to SEC country, other conferences.” They certainly don’t want Clowney to be a poster boy for sitting out to save his money.

6) The precedent thing. Should Clowney sit out, this could well trigger a precedent in college football, where players who believe that they are good enough to only play two years in college and go to the pros sit out their third year with the line: “I just don’t want to get injured”. It would then become bad for college football – and the game itself.

 

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