South Carolina Football’s GOAT Series: Top-12 defensive ends/EDGE players of all-time

Ranking the top-12 defensive ends/EDGE players in South Carolina football history

South Carolina football's Jadeveon Clowney with a sack against Missouri in 2012. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football's Jadeveon Clowney with a sack against Missouri in 2012. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
13 of 13
Next
South Carolina Football
South Carolina football defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney with the sack against Missouri quarterback James Franklin. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina Football’s Greatest EDGE Player of All-Time:
Jadeveon Clowney

Everyone knew this one was coming, right? Jadeveon Clowney (2011-2013) was the consensus number-one recruit in the nation, and he lived up to the billing during his Gamecock career. His career began with a bang as he, Melvin Ingram, and Devin Taylor put together the best collective defensive end season in Gamecock history in 2011. Clowney had a Carolina single-season record of 5 forced fumbles as a freshman and was selected to his first of three All-SEC teams. He was also named a Freshman All-American and was a determining factor in Carolina’s win over Georgia.

As a sophomore, the Rock Hill phenom had the best defensive line season in Carolina history as he put together a 23.5 tackle for loss and 13 sack season despite missing a game due to injury. He finished that season with one of the most iconic plays ever in college football, simply known as “The Hit.” After an egregious first down call for Michigan, #7 took matters into his own hands on the next play, blowing up Wolverine running back Vincent Smith and recovering his own forced fumble. If not for tripping over Smith’s lifeless corpse, he might have even scored on the play.

Clowney was very good again as a junior, but his numbers dwindled as he faced double-teams and even triple-teams on every play due to his dominance. He was still productive and had double-digit tackles for loss. In just three years in Columbia, the 3-time All-American (Freshman honors in 2011, first-team honors in 2012 and 2013) reached the top-3 in Gamecock history in sacks and tackles for loss and became the program’s all-time leader in forced fumbles. He was the first-overall pick in the 2014 draft and became an NFL Pro Bowler.

light. Related Story. South Carolina Football GOAT Series: Top-12 Greatest Defensive Tackles of All-Time