Jadeveon Clowney's former high school coach at South Pointe, Bobby Carroll, was persistent on two points throughout Clowney's drawn out recruiting campaign:
1. Clowney was the best high school player in the country; and
2. Clowney would qualify for freshman eligibility at whichever school he chose.
Carroll proved to be a soothsayer.
Clowney, a defensive end, was the unanimous No. 1 player in the country and he has qualified for freshman eligibility at USC pending NCAA Clearinghouse approval and admission by the university.
"The media made it out that Clowney wasn't going to qualify, and I don't know where that ever came from," Carroll said. "He's as good a student as any other kid I've coached that went on to play Division One football. I think that boy just had a lot going on the last 18 months. It was an absolute zoo there every single day. After it was all done, he buckled down and got it done, and I had complete confidence in him the whole time."
Carroll said Clowney did nothing extra to get his qualifying test score, nor did he need extra tutoring to get through his classes.
"He's an extremely sharp young man," Carroll said. "He didn't take any SAT or ACT improvement course to my knowledge. He's a bright young man. He's like most kids in that he don't catch on and see the light until that junior year. He had time, thank goodness, to straighten things out that weren't straight, and he did what he had to do. There was no doubt in my mind from an academic standpoint that he was going to make it."
Carroll is confident Clowney's transcript will be approved by the Clearinghouse and accepted by USC, saying it's similar to that of USC cornerbacker Stephon Gilmore, another Carroll product from South Pointe.
"It wasn't like he was making all D's and then all of a sudden he's making all A's," Carroll said. "He just got it done."
Carroll pointed out that students at South Pointe can take up to 32 academic courses in their four years and that allowed Clowney to complete more than enough of the core courses required by the NCAA. Clowney is set to graduate Saturday and plans to enroll at USC for second session of summer school in July.
“I really wasn’t worried about it because I knew I was going to qualify,” Clowney told The State this week.