Focus vs. Ego: Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney is an American football defensive end. He graduated from South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, South Carolina and currently attends the University of South Carolina, entering his junior year. I’m not sure if the “football gods” did anything for Clowney while he was in his mother’s womb, but I’m willing to bet his work ethic and intensity are unmatched by any other player in college football at least in the 2012 season, hence his appropriate nickname: the Freak.

Running a 4.46 40-yard dash (at 274 pounds!) allows Clowney to not only take the dive and make the quarterback pitch the ball, but he can then run the pitch down. One of Clowney’s all-time highlights came in the 2013 Outback Bowl when an unsuspecting running back from university of Michigan felt the immediate force of a perfect backfield hit and tackle. Not only did the running back lose his helmet on this play, but Clowney led the Gamecock’s as they defeated the Wolverines 33-28.

“I don’t let anyone intimidate me; I fear not being good.”

It’s been said motivation can be found by either running to a dream or running from a dread. In Clowney’s case, running from the dread of “not being good” is paying huge dividends in terms of his football skills that have undoubtedly been perfected through his very specific pursuit of excellence.

It will be a very interesting up-and-coming NCAA football season. As long as Jadeveon Clowney can keep his ego in line and not read his own press clippings, it’s been speculated that he should be able to at least contend for the coveted Heisman trophy. All too often, though, the mastery of self can be a greater challenge than mastery of external skills. To quote New York Times best selling author, Orrin Woodward,

“It’s what you learn after everyone else believes you have ‘arrived’ that keeps you on the journey.”

We will all find out the level of Clowney’s self-mastery and how much he continues to learn as the 2013-2014 NCAA Division I football season progresses. Either way, it’s sure to be interesting.

– Mike

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