Friday, August 23, 2013

The Legend of Jadeveon Clowney

NYT - "The Legend of Jadeveon Clowney"

"Clowney’s father also lived in Rock Hill his entire life. He described his sport of choice, though, as “the streets.” He met Josenna Clowney at a house party in 1991 — “She was an Amazon,” he says — and they started a brief romance.

Morgan said he told her, “You’ve got to get me a baby."


"The hysteria grew exponentially the next season, after Clowney was named the nation’s consensus No. 1 recruit. Carroll’s phone rang 40 times a day. Mail piled up in the school offices, thousands and thousands of letters, enough to fill the bed of a pickup truck four times. All the best programs — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana State — wrote regularly. Colorado wrote the most, even sent a box of fake money — total pretend value $1 million — with the team’s mascot, a Buffalo, in place of the usual picture of a president. Harvard, oddly, corresponded."


"Last season against Florida, the defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward watched as the Gators ran the zone-read option. Clowney stuffed a hole, forced the quarterback to pitch the ball and ran down the tailback who received the pitch. There were three options on the play. He somehow eliminated all of them."


"Clowney became more than a football player, more than a 6-foot-6, 274-pound defensive end at South Carolina almost certain to be chosen first over all in the next N.F.L. draft. Clowney, instead, became a superhero, a cartoon character, fast as a cheetah, strong as a diamond, capable of decapitating running backs and traveling through time. Stories of his athletic exploits ballooned into tall tales.

The tallest: a single tackle last season against Michigan, replayed a few gazillion times over the last eight months, where Clowney shot into the backfield and dislodged a helmet from a head. The play resembled a car crash, its impact so forceful, so jarring, it became known simply as The Hit — or less simply as The Greatest Hit Ever Delivered."

"The Hit changed everything, catapulting an already oversize level of attention into another stratosphere. It made Clowney bigger than he already was, bigger than Bigfoot. Every step, every Twitter message and every tackle now seem to qualify as news."

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