Aug 29, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Bryn Renner (2) scrambles as he is pursued by South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Georgia doesn’t have a very easy go of it early in the season, do they?
After a week one loss to Clemson, Georgia is getting set to host potential top pick Jadeveon Clowney and the South Carolina Gamecocks. Clowney and USC have not lost to Georgia since he’s been there, and the Dogs are going to have a tough time stopping Clowney, who has faced quite a bit of criticism after a lack-luster week one performance against North Carolina.
This game features quite a few NFL prospects, but perhaps after Clowney, the next best prospect isn’t yet draft eligible. Georgia running back Todd Gurley is a tough runner with big play ability, but he’s only a true sophomore.
Here are the top prospects for this year’s draft for each team:
For Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, this is a chance to win a really big game at home and show NFL scouts that he can bounce back from a really tough loss.
We all know what Murray is capable of, but he’s been lacking a killer instinct, I think. This is a big opportunity for him. Check out a couple of scouting reports for this game that we’ve put together this season.
11 QB Aaron Murray (6’1″ 212 pounds, SENIOR)
Elite level production and four year starter at Georgia who has gotten better and better over the course of his four years. Doesn’t have ideal size compared to some pocket passers, but there are more and more under 6’2″ quarterbacks having success in the NFL. Had an extremely efficient year as a junior, completing nearly 65 percent of his passes with a 36-10 TD/INT ratio.
Really improved placement on his throws and does a great job of leading receivers to spots. Great footwork in the pocket and escape ability. Owns one of the strongest arms in the draft, and has a lightning quick release. I think Murray will be a perfect fit for an offense that likes to take a lot of shots, and while I don’t view him as a scrambling quarterback, I definitely think he has plus athletic ability.
The biggest knock on Murray is whether or not he can step up and win his team a big game. That’s probably the most glaring weakness scouts see right now is that he has not been able to lift Georgia to a BCS title game. Of course, he is not at fault for losing those games, but there is a general feeling that he needs to take the next step somehow. Will excel running an up-tempo offense. Can absolutely light up a scoreboard and stat sheet, but will make some questionable decisions at critical moments of a game. Has to be bigger than the moment, and I think he has great potential in the NFL. I see him as a potential first round pick who likely won’t make it past the top of the 2nd round.
7 DE Jadeveon Clowney (6’5″ 256 pounds, JUNIOR)
Jadeveon Clowney is bigger, faster, stronger, and better than you. And he knows it. The 2012 Heisman finalist and 2013 Heisman hopeful will have to wait more than one calendar year to hear his name called on draft day, as the draft has now been moved to May 8th, 2014, but certainly he won’t have to wait much longer than that. I don’t want to bore you telling you what you already know about Clowney, but his accolades and resume’ are already incredibly impressive considering he has only played two years of college football, and he is only getting bigger and faster. At South Carolina’s Spring ‘training camp’, he reportedly ran a 4.5 second 40 yard dash. Clowney is capable of taking over games at times, and has drawn comparisons to Mario Williams coming out of North Carolina State and Jason Pierre-Paul among others.
His burst off the snap is second to none, and he uses a wide variety of moves to make plays in the backfield. Very strong kid who has NFL ready size already at his young age. Finished his sophomore season with 54 tackles, 13 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and two passes broken up. This is a guy who has elite athletic ability and is likely going to be one of the first two or three players selected in the draft when he comes out. When Clowney wants to, he can use a bull rush move that is absolutely devastating to opposing offensive linemen. He can knock them on their feet with his hands and he has great arm length to be able to push and collapse the pocket.
Bottom line for me: If Clowney had come out as a sophomore, he would have probably gone first overall to the Kansas City Chiefs. When he comes out in 2014 (if that’s still the case) I still believe he will be the number one pick. Sure, a team picking first may have a need for a quarterback, but Clowney is a rare prospect and is much better overall as a prospect in my mind than any of the QBs in this year’s draft. To me, he is the defensive equivalent of Andrew Luck coming out in 2012. I think Clowney would be one of the best defensive players in the NFL in 2013 if he were eligible. This is one of the most rare prospects to come along in a while. He was the #1 ranked recruit nationally coming out of high school, he is the #1 ranked defensive player in college football probably unanimously, and he will likely be the #1 overall pick.