LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — New Florida coach Will Muschamp has gotten the attention of the nation’s No. 1 player.
Rock Hill, S.C., South Pointe defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said Monday that he could visit Florida this month before he makes his National Signing Day decision.
Clowney hasn’t listed Florida as one of his favorite schools, but said after speaking with Muschamp his interest in Florida has increased.
“(Muschamp) called me right after he got the (Florida) job,” Clowney said.
Clowney said he likes Muschamp for the simple fact that he’s a defensive coach.
Still, Florida’s chances seem very slim to land the nation’s best player. He didn’t generate much interest until now, and even though Clowney’s interest increased because of Muschamp, it will be a battle to just get him on campus, considering he will visit Alabama and Florida State this month and could see Clemson and LSU. He’s already visited South Carolina.
Clowney has been absolutely dominating the Under Armour practices. He’s just too big and fast for anyone to consistently contain. The only lineman who was man enough to stop Clowney was Beltsville, Md., DeMatha Catholic tackle Cyrus Koundjio, who finally pancaked Clowney Monday when he knocked him out of the air during practice.
Regardless, Clowney has been the best and most consistent player at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
“I’m trying my best to get past people as best as I could,” he said. “I go at you, so you’re supposed to go at me.”
As the No. 1 player in the country he’s drawing some pretty impressive comparisons. The most common is to former No. 1 Ronald Powell. With a similar build, the two look almost identical on the field. However, Clowney appears to have a quicker first step.
While he’s honored to be compared to Powell, Clowney said he doesn’t care for comparisons and just tries to play his own game.
One thing that makes him so dominant is the speed he possess at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds. It almost looks as if he gets to the quarterback before he has time to finish his three-step drop. What helped him were the continuous speed drills he endured during the offseason since his junior year and basketball. He plays for fun, but says he improves his footwork and agility when he’s not dunking on innocent bystanders.
For three days, Clowney’s speed has frustrated the opposing linemen he’s humbled.
“I got one of the quickest takeoffs around,” he said. “It helps me get past guards and tackles very easily. They can’t touch me most of the time.”
Clowney isn’t perfect, though. He said his biggest issue is turning and opening his shoulders. His Click-Clack (Red team) coaches have been trying to improve that, and he welcomes the help.
“I’m going to get better with it,” Clowney said. “I like it when people tell me what I need to fix, so I can go back and fix it. Let them critique me as I go and help my game out.”
While he’s got the nation’s best game, Clowney shies away from the hype. He doesn’t like being called the country’s best player and tries to keep people from mentioning it when he’s around.
When he first found out about his ranking, he was excited but knew there would be a lot of unwanted attention.
“I was happy but I was like, ‘There’s going to be a lot with this,’ ” he said.
Another dominating performance this week will only increase all that attention and inflate the hype.