“It’s a blessing and an honor”: USC retires Jadeveon Clowney’s jersey Saturday

Jadeveon Clowney, a two-time first-team All-American and All-SEC selection and the 2012 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, had his jersey retired in ceremonies at halftime of South Carolina’s game at Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday against Georgia State.

Clowney was the first selection of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans and is currently playing for the Cleveland Browns.

The Rock Hill, SC, native came to South Carolina as the nation’s top high school recruit in 2011 from South Pointe High School and immediately made an impact for the Gamecocks.

As a true freshman in 2011, he was named SEC Freshman of the Year and second-team All-SEC. He was named to multiple Freshman All-America teams after being credited with 36 total tackles, 12 for losses, including eight sacks and five forced fumbles.

His sophomore season in 2012 was his greatest year as a Gamecock. He tallied 54 total tackles, a school single-season record 23.5 for losses, including 13 sacks (school-record) and three forced fumbles. Clowney became South Carolina’s second unanimous All-American in school history and first since George Rogers in 1980. He was the recipient of the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end. Additionally, he was a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Lombardi Award, and finished sixth overall in the 2012 Heisman Trophy voting.

Following his sophomore season, Clowney was voted by the fans as the 2012 AT&T All-America Player of the Year on January 7.

Clowney’s tackle, forced fumble and fumble recovery against Michigan in the 2013 Outback Bowl is regarded as one of the most iconic moments in recent college football history.

In his junior and final campaign as a Gamecock, Clowney registered 39 total tackles, 11.5 for losses, including three sacks and a forced fumble on his way to a second-straight first-team All-American season.

The Gamecocks were a combined 33-6 overall and 18-6 in SEC play during his three seasons wearing the Garnet and Black. Carolina finished each of the three seasons with bowl victories – 2011 vs. Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, 2012 vs. Michigan in the Outback Bowl and 2013 vs. Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.

Carolina finished in the Top 10 in each of his three seasons and was ranked in the AP Top 25 every week of Clowney’s career. Carolina finished the 2013 season ranked 4th in the final AP poll, its best final ranking ever.

His career totals of 47 tackles for losses in three seasons is second in school history and 24 sacks are third, and nine forced fumbles remains a school record. All three of the totals are in the top 10 in Southeastern Conference history.

Clowney is entering his ninth season in the NFL and has 292 total tackles, 41 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, and seven fumble recoveries. He has earned three Pro Bowl selections (2016-18) and was a second team All-Pro in 2016 for the Texans.

Prior to Clowney’s jersey retirement, the last Gamecock to have his jersey honored in Williams-Brice Stadium was Sterling Sharpe (#2). The wide receiver had his jersey retired following the 1987 regular season. He joined Steve Wadiak (#37), George Rogers (#38) and Mike Johnson (#56) as individuals honored with a jersey retirement.

As part of the jersey retirement plan, recognition of the numbers has been moved in Williams-Brice Stadium from on top of the corner ramps of the stadium to the front of the press box.

The Clowney recognition marks the eighth jersey retirement ceremony for Gamecock Athletics since 2018 and the 21st overall.

Since 2018, Earl Bass (baseball), Trinity Johnson and Joyce Compton (softball), Miki Barber and Dawn Ellerbe (women’s track and field), Terrence Trammell (men’s track and field) and Clint Mathis (men’s soccer) have had their jerseys retired.

“One of the priorities for our department is recognizing and honoring the great accomplishments in our history,” said Tanner. “We have so much to celebrate, and we will continue to honor our great players, coaches and teams.”

Factors for jersey retirement include post-season national and conference recognitions, school record holders, impact on team accomplishments and either graduating from South Carolina or leaving the school in good academic standing.

The current athletics department policy states that the school retire jerseys not numbers. Athletics department records indicate the current policy has been in place since at least 2007. Numbers retired prior to then will continue to be in a retired state. Current and future student-athletes can wear numbers that were affiliated with jersey retirements after 2007.

Retired jerseys are selected by a committee of representatives from the South Carolina Athletics Department, University Board of Trustees, and the USC Lettermen’s Association.

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