Clowney, Watkins team up at scholarship event signing session

WOODRUFF - On a day brighter than a Jadeveon Clowney smile, the lines wrapped around the football field and down the street, longer than one of Sammy Watkins' touchdown runs.

Try and grasp for a moment, if you can, the idea of not one, but two NFL Draft superstars in the immediate future - who suited up for bitter college rivals, not to mention - spending their final Saturday afternoon on the unemployment line in small-town South Carolina, endlessly signing autographs and taking fan photos at a scholarship event open to the public for a small fee.

That's what was accomplished by Relativity Sports agent Tory Dandy, who represents Watkins along with former South Carolina players Bruce Ellington, Victor Hampton and Kelcy Quarles - who with two days to spare talked Clowney into showing up as well.

"Man, I'm certainly pleased to be able to give back to my hometown," said Dandy, a Woodruff High School product. "I'm glad these guys took time out of their schedules, with it being this close to the draft, to come back to my hometown, and give back. It's certainly a blessing."

News spread quickly of Clowney, the former South Carolina defensive end, making an appearance, which undoubtedly increased the attraction as a widely-projected No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's first round - whether it be to Houston, or a team who trades with the Texans.

"Hanging out with Bruce Ellington, Sammy Watkins, Tory, just supporting these guys," Clowney said.

At the next table over was Watkins, the top wide receiver prospect and a Clemson product, who figures to go somewhere in the top five.

"It's all love here," Watkins said with a grin, taking no issue with participating with Gamecocks, many of whom he trained with during this offseason.

Also signing autographs were Tennessee offensive tackle Antonio Richardson, Toronto Argonauts offensive tackle Jarriel King (an ex-USC player) and Duke assistant Derek Jones.

Both Clowney and Watkins will leave Tuesday for New York City to take part in draft festivities.

"It's rare, man," Dandy said. "You get these two guys, who could potentially be the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks - at least both two top-five picks - to come back to Woodruff, this close to the draft, it means a lot."

This was the first of many annual events, Dandy expects, to raise funds in aid of college education as well as giving back to other nonprofit organizations. Hundreds of fans chipped in a $5 cost to help, in exchange for a few minutes with their favorite local football players.

"These kids decided they wanted to come here and help," said Sonya Denson, Dandy's assistant and events coordinator. "Tory has really put a lot of effort into really getting this out there. He believes in hometown, he believes in his players, but as well, he believes in the people that took enough time to stand in line and support."