Josh Norris, NFL Draft Writer for Rotoworld.com, joins us this week to talk about the rematch between South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Tennessee left tackle Tiny Richardson.
Last season, Richardson handled Clowney much of the game, but Clowney broke free in the final minutes to sack Vols quarterback Tyler Bray and force a fumble that sealed the Gamecocks’ win. This year is the final collegiate season for both players and plenty of NFL scouts are expected to be watching.
We also talked about why South Carolina’s offensive edge is outside this week. The State: Tell us about what you think of Tiny Richardson and his rematch with Jadeveon Clowney.
Josh Norris: Obviously people talk a lot about Jake Matthews, the left tackle at Texas A&M, a lot of people talk about Cyrus Kouandjio at Alabama, some talk about Taylor Lewan at Michigan. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Tiny Richardson be selected above one of those guys, not over Matthews but maybe Lewan or Kouandjio. Kouandjio has had a rough year at times, over-extending, and Lewan might just be limited. Richardson is very impressive, and he has an athletic lower half. He’s got length, and he can bend in all the right places. He bends at the ankles, bends at the knees, absorbs momentum and redirects it. Now, he’s not the only offensive lineman they have. Their right tackle Jawuan James is pretty impressive as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a second day pick. He’s got a bit more power and a little bit stiffer, but this is going to be a fun game. I wouldn’t expect Clowney to get more help this week (from his teammates), but if people have questioned Clowney’s effort or toughness this week, maybe this week is the time that it really brings it out of him. I haven’t done that at all, but maybe this week is the one that sparks that fire because of the comments.
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The State: Clowney probably will get some chances to face one-on-one blocking this week, too, right?
Josh Norris: That’s a great point. I think one of their running backs is coming back this week so if they are worried about running back depth, I am not sure how much they will chip block. It’s going to be fun. I am excited to see these one-on-one matchups. Clowney gets upfield within two or three steps and can get to the quarterback very quickly. The key is going to be how Richardson uses his length and his punching power to negate Clowney’s arm-over swim that he absolutely loves. If (Richardson) can stay balanced, hit Clowney right when he is going to use that move, jolt him and hit that big target that opens up, it’ll be a very, very good day for him.
The State: Other than the two offensive tackles, is there only prospect the gigantic defensive tackle?
Josh Norris: A lot of people like the linebacker, too, A.J. Johnson. I am not quite as into him. He really lacks lateral speed to me so that’s something to keep an eye on if they are going to run some of those options to the outside or Mike Davis is able to get to the edge. I guarantee you (Davis) is going to beat A.J. Johnson to the edge and get up field. Johnson is more of a big body that can stop momentum inside the tackles, but I would give Mike Davis the momentum in that area. And then the big mountain in Daniel McCullers. I haven’t spotlighted him too much this season, but he’s what 6-5, 350, 370? The evaluation is very interesting. There are times when I think he does get up field and moves better for someone his size, but the last time I looked very straight-linish so if he doesn’t win directly ahead of him, he’s not going to be able to flow the line very well. I think outside the tackles or between the guard and the tackles or beyond is where South Carolina can really win this game on the ground.