South Carolina Football: In role reversal, Jadeveon Clowney is recruiting Stephon Gilmore

South Carolina football legend Stephon Gilmore helped recruit Jadeveon Clowney to USC, but now, Clowney is recruiting Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers.

South Carolina football legend Jadeveon Clowney
South Carolina football legend Jadeveon Clowney / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina football legends Stephon Gilmore and Jadeveon Clowney are both from Rock Hill, South Carolina. In fact, the Mr. Football award winners from 2009 and 2011, respectively, both played at South Pointe High School.

When Clowney was being recruited (in part by current South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer), Gilmore played a role in the Gamecocks' many recruiting pitches for the nation's top recruit. After Clowney committed and joined the program, the two players wore garnet and black together for one season before Gilmore was a 1st round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2012 and Clowney was the 1st pick of the 2014 NFL Draft for the Houston Texans.

Last week, Clowney signed a big free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers, a team that plays a handful of miles away from his hometown, just over the South Carolina-North Carolina border. Now, in a bit of a reversal of roles, Clowney is recruiting Gilmore to join him with Carolina. No deal has been made between Gilmore and the organization, but many in NFL circles believe it will happen.

Like Clowney, Gilmore had a good season on a one-year deal in 2023. Clowney had 9.5 sacks for the NFL's top defensive unit in the Baltimore Ravens, while Gilmore had 68 tackles and 2 interceptions for the Dallas Cowboys' top-5 pass defense.

If the free agent Gilmore does join his former high school and college teammate with the Panthers, it will be his second stint with the team. He played for Carolina back in 2021 but battled injuries.

The Panthers have become a South Carolina Gamecocks NFL stronghold of late as Clowney has fellow defenders DJ Wonnum and Jaycee Horn on the roster with him. Former USC stars Hayden Hurst, Shi Smith, and Josh Vann were on the roster last year, and former South Carolina football defensive back Jammie Robinson (who transferred to Florida State) also plays for the Panthers.

One of the best offensive linemen in Gamecock history is also one of the best offensive linemen in Panthers history, as well, as Travelle Wharton was an excellent guard for a decade in Charlotte.

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