By Brentson Buckner.
Former Clemson Tiger and 12 year NFL defensive tackle Brentson Buckner is doing a weekly column with TheClemsonInsider.com. Brentson will share his thoughts on the Clemson football program, provide in-depth analysis and unique perspective on the Tigers. In this edition the former Super Bowl champ discusses the Clemson 2011 recruiting class and Jadeveon Clowney!
Clemson signed some great athletes on Wednesday. Like I told you last week, I am not real big on thinking this guys is a 5-star so he is going to be this, but watching those guys on film they are some great athletes that Clemson hasn’t had at that position in a while. Now the question is going to be how fast they can adjust to the college game. Will they be able to take the coaching and adjust to different techniques? If they can adapt quickly their God given ability will make them special.
Some positions can adapt quicker than others. I think the hardest positions to go from high school to college and college to pros are wide receiver, quarterback and defensive line because the speed of the game is so fast. I don’t know how good mentally these guys are. I don’t know how good these guys are. Are they to the point now where they can step on campus and say we are as good as the Florida State’s and the Virginia Tech’s because they have had a different speed. That is where coaching is going to come in. You get these guys here and how good are you at teaching and processing them along. The best coaches can speed their process up by the way they approach it and the way they teach the guys. They are able to relate to the guys. The guys understand they are not going through this where I don’t really understand what the coach is saying to me. The coach has to make sure they build chemistry and get them to some point where the game slows down. They are special players. They were special in high school. Now can you slow the game down enough for them to be special as true freshmen.
I have seen Jadeveon Clowney play. I think he is a freak of nature. You don’t find too many guys his size that plays the way he does. The one thing I like about him is that he is versatile. Most guys that are that size play defensive line and run around and beat everybody with speed. I watched this guy play and he makes football plays. He is not afraid to go down in the three-technique and play. He will drop in coverage. He has that motor. That is one thing you can’t coach is a motor.
Once again with him as good as he is right now at the high school level does he have the ability to be an impact player as a freshman, without a doubt. The same question goes for him. How fast can he adapt to the college game. Nobody is going to be afraid of Clowney in college. He is not going to walk into the stadium and everyone will be in awe because of how big and fast he is. In high school you don’t see top notch competition every night. In college everybody is good. I think this guy has the making to be special.
I think for as many similarities as he and DaQuan have I think he has the ability to be better than DaQuan was early. DaQuan had an alright freshman year, but then a disappointing sophomore year and a breakout junior year. I think with the ability Clowney has he has the ability to have a breakout year as a freshman. He will get even better as a sophomore and then by his junior year he could easily be considered the No. 1 draft pick.
These kids need to prepare themselves over the next few months so they can come in and make an impact. I think the most important thing, other than the natural running as you can’t run enough. is mentally de-recruiting yourself. You have to go from being promised everything for a school to get you. You can’t believe any of that. Just be glad that you are getting a chance to play football and get an education. Some kids will think that when they get there it will be just like how recruiting went. They are all going to love me and the coaches are going to be so nice. Once you get there all of those promises that have been made to you know you have to go earn it. I think the most important thing for these kids is to de-recruit yourself. Get out of that mentality that this coach is my best friend. Now you have to get in your mind that now I have to go earn my playing time. What you see in high school, you might as well leave it there when you walk across that stage and get your diploma.