A lot of people in the media thought Jadeveon Clowney should have just sat out the 2013 season rather than risk hurting his draft stock or even suffering a catastrophic injury. Turns out, there were people close to Clowney who thought the same thing.
Speaking at SEC media days, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier revealed the advice Clowney received (via NFL.com):
Jadeveon didn’t even have to play last year. A lot of people advised him to sit out. He wanted to play.
Clowney likely would have still been a top five draft pick even had he elected to follow that advice and sit out the entire 2013 season. As it was, Clowney got through the year uninjured and undamaged in terms of draft stock, and wound up being taken #1 overall by the Houston Texans.
At some point in the near future there will be another prospect as dominant as Clowney who will choose the other path and sit out the year rather than risk injury or damaging draft position due to poor performance. And I’m certain that person will get ripped.
I personally would never rip a player for choosing to sit in those circumstances. What does a guy like Clowney owe South Carolina? Nothing. They make money on his name, and if he screws up a knee or something and his football career is derailed, he gets nothing.
Clowney stayed mostly out of loyalty to his teammates I suspect, but loyalty to teammates isn’t a good enough reason to risk one’s financial future.