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Dr. Saturday

Doc Five: Most memorable hits in college football – No. 2, Send in the Clowney

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.

MOST MEMORABLE HITS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NO. 2, SEND IN THE CLOWNEY

It's hard to believe anybody seeing the Jadeveon Clowney hit against Michigan for the first time didn't emit some kind of sound.

The funny thing is, it was probably one of the easier plays Clowney made all season. The South Carolina end was unblocked because of a miscommunication by the offensive line. But after he gets past the line, the play is breathtaking.

[Also: Former Notre Dame fullback Asaph Schwapp dies at age 26]

The closing speed is unbelievable for a man who is 272 pounds. The force of the (legal) hit on Michigan's Vincent Smith is absurd. It knocked Smith's helmet off, and it flew about 10 yards. And the sound is crazy. The Daily Gamecock's game recap quoted South Carolina receiver Ace Sanders saying it sounded like a car crash, and teammate Bruce Ellington said he didn't see the hit live, but he could hear it on the sideline. There's also the ridiculous bonus of Clowney picking up the fumbled ball with his left hand like it's the size of a baseball.

Clowney's tweet right after the game is pretty funny in retrospect:

Yeah, we know, Jadeveon.

The YouTube videos are still popular. One clip of the hit has more than 3.5 million views, and another copy of the play has more than a million. On ESPN's SportsCenter, it won the "Best of the Best" highlight for three months straight. LeBron James tweeted about it. There was even another version of the video, which has almost 100,000 views, hilariously set to the audio of wrestling announcer Jim Ross calling someone getting hit with a steel chair:

Clowney was already well known by college football fans, but the hit on Smith took his fame to another level and changed his life.

"It's changed a lot," Clowney told ESPN. "Random people just come up to me like, 'That was a great hit.'"

Clowney got lucky on the play. Smith has said that Michigan's tight end missed a call to downblock Clowney. Clowney had a free path to the running back, something that is very rare for a player of his stature. But give him credit, he got off on the snap tremendously fast and then obviously finished the play in a way nobody will ever forget.

The play became even more legendary because of the game circumstances. It came in the fourth quarter, one play after an inexcusable mistake by the officials that gave Michigan a first down even though the ball clearly didn't reach the first-down marker. On the next play, Clowney separated Smith from the ball and recovered the fumble. Later in the fourth quarter, South Carolina won on a touchdown in the final minute.

[Also: Columbia football player charged with hate crime, hateful tweets revealed]

The hit will follow Clowney wherever he goes. He has a good chance to be the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft. He could have a hall-of-fame NFL career. He has the physical ability to have that type of career.

But given how many people have watched that remarkable tackle from the Outback Bowl, until the day he dies Clowney will probably have random people coming up to him, telling him how great his hit against Michigan was.

Previously on the "Doc Five"
5. Alabama's goal line stand
4. The Lavar Leap
3. Two careers end on one hit

- - -
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