COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH/AP) -- South Carolina All-American Jadeveon Clowney has purchased a $5 million insurance policy to protect himself financially for the 2013 season.
Clowney said Thursday his family bought the policy earlier this year. The NCAA's "Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Program" permits qualifying athletes in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and ice hockey, to take out a loan to help finance the cost of the policy, which they must repay upon signing a pro contract.
Several analysts say the sophomore defensive end would be the No. 1 pick in this year's NFL draft if he were eligible. Some suggested Clowney should consider sitting out the 2013 season to avoid an injury that might ruin his draft status.
Despite that national debate, Clowney says he never considered stepping away from the game.
"No, I never thought about it. Y'all know I ain't doing that. I would go crazy if I sit out," said Clowney after Thursday's practice. "I'm going to be ready for it. I'm just going to keep playing like I've been playing, 100 percent and do better than I did last year."
Earlier this week, USC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said Clowney doesn't always give it everything he has on every play, suggesting if Clowney wanted to, he could make a big play on every snap, just like he did in the Outback Bowl when he blasted Michigan runningback Vincent Smith. That hit provided the raw materials for a video that instantly went viral online and launched Clowney into superstardom.
Ward said if Clowney truly wants to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, as many have suggested, he will have to improve on that. The coach says he has talked to the defensive end about the issue.
Clowney is well aware of what Ward thinks.
"He's trying to say to me don't come out here and play not to get injured so I can just leave," said Clowney. "Just come out here and do what I've been doing since I got here and that's playing hard every play."
The $5 million policy Clowney purchased is the maximum amount allowed and such policies cost about $30,000.