South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier compared former USC star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to Julius Peppers, Jevon Kearse and Kevin Carter in a conversation with the NFL Network on Wednesday.
Peppers, a former UNC star, went second overall in the 2002 draft and has had eight seasons of 10-plus sacks. Spurrier coached Carter and Kearse at Florida. Carter went sixth in the 1995 draft and had four seasons of 10-plus sacks. Kearse went 16th in 1999 and had three seasons of 10-plus sacks.
“When the ball is snapped, he's got an explosion like you've never seen before,” Spurrier said of Clowney.
Spurrier told the network that Clowney's work habits were “pretty good,” saying they didn't compare to those of former Gamecocks stars Marcus Lattimore, Stephon Gilmore and Melvin Ingram.
Spurrier defended Clowney's numbers 2013 (40 tackles and three sacks, compared with 54 tackles and 12 sacks in 2012).
“Even though his production this year wasn't near what it was last year, they tried to double-team or triple-team him on just about every pass play,” Spurrier said. “His run defense was very good, though. He chased down a bunch of guys and made tackles. His sacks, he had to go around two and three guys just about every game.”
Spurrier said Clowney “can get a little stronger. He's only 20, I think, right now. He may be 21, I'm not sure. He's a good team player. We didn't win 11 games three years in a row, most in school history, because of any kind of issues and so forth.”