COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - Former South Carolina All-American Jadeveon Clowney isn't getting a ringing endorsement from his former coach as the defensive standout gets ready to prove himself at the NFL Combine.
USC head coach Steve Spurrier appeared on the NFL Network Wednesday and described Clowney's work habits as "pretty good" and "OK," saying they didn't stack up compared to former Gamecock standouts like Marcus Lattimore, Stephon Gilmore, and Melvin Ingram, who are now in the NFL.
However, Spurrier also praised Clowney for having certain intangibles that set him apart from other players saying, "when the ball is snapped, yeah, he's got something no else has."
Clowney's commitment level and performance came under fire last season after his production dropped off from his explosive sophomore season. Clowney collected just 40 tackles and three sacks compared with 54 tackles and 13 sacks in 2012.
While Spurrier didn't exactly endorse his former star's work ethic, he did rush to defend his drop off in production.
"Even though his production this year wasn't near what it was last year, he had two or three guys waiting on him just about every play," Spurrier said. "He chased down a bunch of guys and made tackles. His sacks, he had to go around two or three guys just about every game."
Despite the fact many analysts have been critical of the former SEC standout, Clowney is a sure-fire top-five pick, and is a legitimate threat to be the first pick overall by the Houston Texans. Last month, team owner Bob McNair praised Clowney, describing him as a "once-in-every-10 years kind of physical specimen."
In the same breath, McNair, a South Carolina alumnus, also questioned Clowney's work habits, but indicated that if the team drafted Clowney, they would pair him up with All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt, who is admired for his work ethic.
During an appearance on "The Dan Patrick Show" last week, Clowney said he was determined to prove that he is worthy of this year's number one pick.
Clowney is one of five Gamecocks invited to the 2014 Combine. He will be joined by quarterback Connor Shaw, defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles, defensive back Victor Hampton, and receiver Bruce Ellington.
The NFL Combine runs Feb. 19-25 in Indianapolis.