Jadeveon Clowney and Manti Te’o were arguably the best two defensive players in the world of college football in 2012. While you can also make a case for someone such as Jarvis Jones, no players were more dominant than Clowney with the South Carolina Gamecocks and Te’o of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In fact, if you take out Johnny Manziel’s magical season with the Texas A&M Aggies, Te’o probably would have been the one who made a little Heisman history as the first predominantly defensive player to win the award.
In 2013, however, Clowney says that can be him.
“I believe a defensive player can win the Heisman next year,” Clowney said.
Anyone in particular, Jadeveon?
“That’s my next thing, New York,” Clowney said Monday night after the Gamecock’s practice. “Next season, I am going to come out and try to work harder than I did this season and try to get there.”
Clowney finished sixth in the 2012 Heisman Trophy voting, with Te’o finishing second. But if Clowney does in fact have an even better season with the Gamecocks in 2013, he may very well be able to win the award as a defensive player in 2013.
And for those getting ready to hit the submit button under the comment section, yes, I am fully aware of the fact that Charles Woodson won the Heisman back in 1997 as a cornerback with the Michigan Wolverines. Did you also know that he was an excellent punt returner, which helped him ice college football’s top individual honor? Defensive ends and linebackers do not have another aspect of their game that can give them an edge, such as defensive backs who also participate in the kicking or punt return game.
Clowney is a beast up front. His 13 sacks led the SEC in 2012, and he often beat double teams against solid offensive lines. If he does continue to improve, he may very well wind up winning the Heisman in 2013. Of course, a lot will depend on how the Gamecocks perform as well, but they should be formidable enough to remain competitive, even in the stacked SEC next season.
“It’s a possibility,” he said. “I just keep playing my game, and I probably have a shot at winning next year.”