South Pointe's Jadeveon Clowney pulled what could be considered an upset Friday night at Myrtle Beach High School's Performing Arts Center.
But those who have followed the 6-foot-6, 255-pound defensive end's career at South Pointe, liked his chances of being named South Carolina 2010 Mr. Football. This was the 15th year for the award and two other former Rock Hill players were previous winners: Rock Hill's Chris Hope in 1997 and South Pointe's Stephon Gilmore in 2008.
"On the way riding down here, I kept telling (South Pointe) coach (Bobby Carroll) that there was no way I would win this award," Clowney said. "You got Justin Worley, who threw all those touchdown passes. You got (Everett) Golson, who's also a good passer, I kept worrying, coach Carroll said, 'Don't worry about it.'
"But now that I've won it I'm really happy to get the award. When they first said my name, I didn't know what to say, but this award shows that hard work pays off."
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Rock Hill had two front-runners going into this year's selection process. Clowney and Northwestern quarterback Worley were among the eight finalists brought to Myrtle Beach for the ceremony.
Worley was a solid favorite in some circles after leading his team to 15-0 record, a state championship and setting a list of state and national passing records. Worley was named Gatorade's National Football Player of the Year on Thursday.
Shell Dula, director of the South Carolina High School Athletic Coaches Association pointed out, with two such talented athletes and both in the national spotlight, the selection committee couldn't go wrong either way.
"Jadeveon is an athlete of great character,'' Carroll said. "He is extremely trustworthy, one of the main pillars of character. He has taken time out of his busy schedule to help with our youth camp.
"He has attended youth football games and practices as he promised the kids and coaches he would do. If Jadeveon tells you something, you can bank on it. He is a man of his word. He is a man of great integrity. He is a team player.''
The other finalists were: Greenwood linebacker Quinn Backus; Myrtle Beach quarterback Golson; Summerville running back De'Angelo Henderson, James Island quarterback Bo Patterson, Dorman receiver Charone Peake and Goose Creek offensive lineman Brandon Shell.
Clowney is recognized by most recruiting services as the nation's top overall player regardless of position. He is the target of an intense recruiting battle that includes the top schools across the country and lists his top five in alphabetical order as Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU and South Carolina.
He was selected to play in the Under Armour All-America High School Football Game on Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Clowney plans to announce which college he'll attend during the game.
Clowney was named South Carolina's Defensive Player of the Year by the S.C. Football Coaches Association and will play for South Carolina in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas next Saturday in Spartanburg.
South Pointe was 38-6 in Clowney's three varsity seasons. The 2008 team went 15-0 and won the Class AAAA Division II state championship, last year's team was 10-4 and lost in the D-II semifinals and this year's team was moved down to Class AAA and was ranked No. 1 after the third week of the season and won 12 straight games until losing to Myrtle Beach in last week's championship game.
Clowney, who runs a 4.5 40, had 162 tackles, 29.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, 11 caused fumbles, six fumbles recoveries, 43 quarterback pressures and five defensive touchdowns this season. He had 20 carries for 274 yards and nine touchdowns.