COLUMBIA Ė When the Football Writers Association of America releases its All-America team in the coming days, South Carolina sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney could accomplish something that nobody in school history has ever done. He could become a unanimous All-American.
Clowney on Tuesday was named a first-team All-American by The Associated Press, which is one of the five primary All-America teams. The other four are chosen by the Sporting News, Walter Camp Football Foundation, American Football Coaches Association and Football Writers Association of America.
The AP honor meant Clowney has been named a first-teamer by four of the five, with only the writers associationís team yet to be announced. So he is USCís fourth consensus All-American, joining running back George Rogers (1980), offensive lineman Del Wilkes (1984) and defensive end Melvin Ingram (2011).
If the writers association names Clowney a first-teamer, he will be a unanimous All-American Ė an honor he can add to a 2012 season that already includes the schoolís single-season records for sacks (13) and tackles for loss (21Ĺ). His 4Ĺ sacks against Clemson were a single-game school record.
Clowney also joined Rogers as the only USC players to win a national individual award, when he won the Hendricks Award, given to college footballís best defensive end. Rogers won the Heisman Trophy in 1980.
Clowney is USCís fifth first-team All-American under eighth-year coach Steve Spurrier, along with safety Ko Simpson (2005), defensive end Eric Norwood (2009), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (2010) and Ingram.
Before Simpson, USC had just two first-team All-Americans since receiver Sterling Sharpe in 1987: cornerback Sheldon Brown in 2000 and defensive end/linebacker Kalimba Edwards in 2001.
Clowney has also been named a first-team All-American by ESPN.com and CBSSports.com. He was a finalist for the Nagurski, Bednarik and Lombardi awards. The first two are defensive player of the year awards. The Lombardi goes to the best offensive or defensive lineman, or linebacker.
Clowney canít turn pro yet because he is not three years out of high school. He is widely expected to be the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Tuesday that Clowney would be the first pick in 2013 if he could turn pro.
ďHeís a spectacular player,Ē Kiper Jr. said. ďThatís why you look at him and say, boy, itís not a stretch, itís not exaggerating or over-stating to say he would have been the No. 1 pick probably if you think about as a freshman, I wonít go there, but certainly this year. If he were in this draft, he would be the guaranteed No. 1 pick overall. I donít think there would be any doubt about that. He would be guaranteed to be the No. 1 pick in this draft.Ē