With the NFL Draft tonight, and Jadeveon Clowney officially making the long-awaited transfer from amateur to professional football player, it's a good opportunity to reflect.
It's difficult to describe the impact Clowney made at South Carolina. Seismic would be one word. Historic would be another. There were highlights fans will remember forever.
Here are the top five moments of Clowney's career at South Carolina.
When a play earns its own nickname, you know it's special. By now, there's no need to explain The Hit. You close your eyes, and you see Clowney jarring Michigan running back Vincent Smith from helmet and football. The greatest hit in college football history? Nothing else comes to mind. But, great as it was, The Hit isn't just Clowney's defining moment because of those two seconds between snap and impact. It's everything that followed - the hype, the ESPY, the impossible expectations - that will be remembered. Few players ever generate that kind of buzz. Clowney, indeed, belonged in elite company.
As soon as his career ended, Clowney remarked how proud he was to never lose a game against Clemson. He was a big reason for that. The 2012 edition of the Palmetto State rivalry was Clowney's own personal field day. He sacked Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd 4 1/2 times, setting South Carolina and Memorial Stadium records. It was the greatest game of Clowney's career, and one of the most important.
The Hit overshadows everything else. To find the second-greatest play of Clowney's career, you have to go all the way back to his second-career game. South Carolina was nursing a three-point lead in the fourth quarter against Georgia at Sanford Stadium. That was until Clowney strip-sacked Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray. Melvin Ingram recovered the fumble and returned it 5 yards for the game-clinching touchdown. On that play, a superstar was born.
Clowney would have bigger moments in bowl games, but don't forget about his first. In the final game of his freshman season, Clowney recorded two sacks against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, where his career would end two years later. It was the first of what would become three straight bowl victories against Big Ten teams. Clowney would ride the momentum into a record-smashing sophomore season.
There was plenty of anticipation for Clowney to make his home debut, and he didn't disappoint. His two strip-sacks would become a trend. Clowney loved to terrorize Vandy. He added another strip-sack against Vanderbilt last season.