It only took eleven hours (if you’re keeping track on EST) to see what could possibly have been the biggest hit of 2013. Jadeveon Clowney absolutely crushed Michigan’s halfback after getting through the line with minimal resistance. Not only did he obliterate the opponent, not only did he knock his helmet clean off his corn-rowed head, after the hit and forced fumble he looked over at the unmanned football and snapped it up with his one hand. Clowney is 6’6″, 256 lbs. according to ESPN. As any athlete who has had his height and weight taken knows, coaches add five to ten pounds and an inch to the actual results to appear a bit more intimidating. Still, if Spurrier fudged those numbers, Clowney stands at 6’5, 250 lbs. At 19 years old, he stands as a fully grown man.
The only thing is that he isn’t a fully grown man. He doesn’t even turn 20 for another month and a half. On top of that, he has to play one more year of college ball before he can declare for the NFL Draft. Even though he plays in the SEC, he will surely be the most dominant player in that conference, perhaps the country. On the ESPN Happy Hour (Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption) there was clamor for his Heisman candidacy next year. For a defensive end to get a Heisman look, he will surely need a lot of sacks. He probably will have to break the record to get a look. Just for some perspective on sacks:
Terrell Suggs from Arizona State officially* holds the sack record at 24 (2002). He rounded out the year with 73 total tackles, an interception (returned for a touchdown), and a fumble recovery (returned for a touchdown). Despite a very dominant year, he didn’t even finish in the top ten voting for the Heisman (Carson Palmer won that year by a decided margin over the likes of Brad Banks, Larry Johnson, Willis McGahee and Ken Dorsey). In the past, the only players invited to New York from the defensive side of the ball in the last thirty years was Manti Te’o (MLB, Notre Dame 2012).  Charles Woodson (DB/WR, Michigan 1997), Gordie Lockbaum (DB/WR, Holy Cross 1987) played on both sides of the ball which helped their case. They both also had some returning duties which furthered their Heisman hopes.
The silver lining for Clowney’s Heisman candidacy is that he placed sixth in the Heisman vote this year, including four first place votes. Considering he only had fifty total tackles, thirteen sacks, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries, it is probably safe to say A) defensive players are getting more recognized in the Heisman running, and B) the instantaneous nature of news and video clips that technology has brought gives the public more of an opportunity to see just how dominant defenders can be. Perhaps A is the result of B in this case, but both are points that will probably shape the future of Heisman voting.
Now, watch this clip of him demolishing Vincent Smith of Michigan.
*Derrick Thomas from Alabama (1988) unofficially has it at 27 since defensive stats weren’t kept track of until 2000).