ROCK HILL -- Jadeveon Clowney said Monday that he expects to qualify to play at South Carolina this year."Yeah, no questions asked," he said while standing in the school’s parking lot 30 minutes after announcing he had chosen to play for the Gamecocks.Clowney acknowledged he had to make up an English 3 class from earlier in his high school career to help get his academics in order."I fixed it already," he said. "I made up classes already. It’s done. It’s over."
Clowney’s mother, Josenna, said Monday she is pushing her son to take care of his classwork
"He’s 17 years old, and I’m the enemy because I’ve never been 17 before, so it’s very hard," she said. "I’m trying my best to keep him focused and make sure he does what he needs to do so he can go to college."
Former South Pointe football coach Bobby Carroll said last week he is very optimistic Clowney will qualify. South Pointe High School principal Al Leonard declined to comment on Clowney’s qualifying status.
"To be honest with you, the whole issue of it being discussed in the media is inappropriate and in some ways illegal I think," Leonard said.
NO WHAMMIES: Gamecock fans who see defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward around town this week might want to give him a hug. Ward, who goes by the nickname Whammy, was credited by Clowney as being the key South Carolina coach in the recruiting process.
Ward only joined the recruiting process full-time about two months ago, Clowney said.
"He was like a homeboy to me so we got really close," Clowney said.
MEDIA TIMEOUT: Clowney delayed his decision several minutes waiting for ESPN, which aired his announcement live on SportsCenter. Clowney stood awkwardly at the podium chatting with an ESPN producer in Bristol, Conn., who was talking to him through an ear piece, during most of the delay.
"Yeah it was awkward," he said. "I thought it made me look kind of slow just standing there."
Clowney already was nervous, he said, after walking on stage to be greeted by all those cameras.
THE SCENE: South Pointe High School had parked cars filling its visitor lot and parked against the sidewalk for hundreds of yards prior to Clowney’s announcement. Inside the school’s auditorium, approximately 40 media members, including about two dozen video cameras, gathered for the announcement.
While most students trying to sneak a peak of the event were shooed away, a group of students was allowed to watch Clowney’s announcement and cheered loudly when he picked South Carolina. During the ESPN delay, one student sang happy birthday to Clowney.
EARLY ANSWER: Clowney’s mother was asked if her son would complete all four years of his collegiate eligibility or leave South Carolina early for the NFL.
"It depends on the circumstances because if he can come out his junior year as the No. 1 draft pick and now he’s going to be No. 1, yeah go ahead and come out," she said. "You can always come back and get the degree."
Video: Clowney picks USC
Video: Clowney comments on his decision