The mother of South Carolina defensive end and possible 2014 No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney told SI.com Thursday that she expects her son to play a third season, rather than skip the season to avoid injury.
"I talked to him this week, and he wants to play," Josenna Clowney told the web site. "I don't think he has it in him to sit out. He loves to play football. I know I want him to play."
Clowney's status has been uncertain since Charlotte Observer columnist Tom Sorensen suggested Feb. 10 that Clowney think about sitting out his junior year to train for the pro draft. Per NFL rules, players can't declare for the draft until three years after graduating from high school.
Clowney graduated from South Pointe High (Rock Hill, S.C.) in 2011 and played two seasons for the Gamecocks.
The 20-year-old is viewed as an imposing defensive presence. He said last month that he's grown to 6-foot-6 1/2 and 273 pounds. He has told South Carolina officials that "as of right now," he'll return for his junior season.
A FOXSports.com report suggested that the talented Gamecock will protect his future earning potential. A Clowney representative has contacted an insurance company to purchase an insurance policy worth $5 million, should Clowney be injured.
Clowney was on the sideline when teammate Marcus Lattimore suffered a knee injury that will affect his draft stock, and could prevent him from playing again. Coastal Advisors, the company contacted by the Clowney associate, has insured 35 other top college prospects in the past 15 years.