All season South Pointe football coach Bobby Carroll has told anyone within listening distance that Stallions defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the best player he's coached or seen in his 28-year career.
And most have listened, the latest being USA Today, which picked Clowney as its National Defensive Player of the Year.
It's the third of what should be a prestigious string of awards. Earlier this month, Clowney was named South Carolina's 2010 Mr. Football by a panel of coaches.
Last Saturday, Clowney was voted South Carolina's Defensive MVP in a 42-10 win against North Carolina in the 2010 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas All-Star Game.
Never miss a local story.
"Anything he gets he deserves,'' Carroll said. "He's a kid, just like the others on our team. But he has exeptional skills, and we know that he wants to win no matter what game he's playing.
"Clowney can play any position on the field, but what he does on defense is sometimes almost unbelievable. He doesn't depend on other players to be successful. He does it on his own and most of the time he's unblockable.''
South Pointe is 38-6 in Clowney's three varsity seasons, including a 15-0 record and a Class AAAA Division II state championship his sophomore season. The Stallions were 10-4 last year and lost to rival Northwestern in the final four.
Realignment moved South Pointe down to Class AAA this season. The Stallions went 13-2 and lost to Myrtle Beach in the state championship game.
Clowney, 6-feet-6, 255 pounds with a 4.48 time in the 40-yard dash, is considered the nation's top overall player by most recruiting services. He has his final list of colleges trimmed to Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU and South Carolina (alphabetical order).
He said Thursday that he will announce his decision on Feb. 2.
He had 171 tackles, 29.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, 11 caused fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries, 43 quarterback pressures and five defensive touchdowns this season. On offense, he had 20 carries for 274 yards and nine touchdowns.
"I couldn't be the player I am if I didn't have such good teammates,'' Clowney said. "They are so good that teams couldn't focus on blocking just me. That allowed me to tee off on (opposing) quarterbacks.
"Awards are always exciting to win, and they aren't just for me - they are for the team, too. I have a goal, to win one more at the Under Armor Game.
Clowney was chosen for this year's 2011 Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. The game will be telecast nationally on ESPN. Carroll was selected to coach the linebackers for head coach Steve Mariucci's all stars.