COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney doesn't want to quit on his team and is looking forward to playing football for the Gamecocks in 2013.
Clowney's status became a trending topic this week, with some columnists suggesting the sophomore might sit out the season to protect his health and likely high draft position in 2014. Spurrier said Thursday while attending a South Carolina basketball game with his wife that Clowney wants another season to improve.
NFL rules require a player to be three years removed from the time his high school class graduated to be eligible for the draft. The rule has been unsuccessfully challenged in the courts. Clowney would very likely be the first player drafted in April if he were eligible.
Instead of preparing for the draft, Clowney is taking part in winter workouts with the team. He's expected to be on the field when the Gamecocks open spring practice March 5.
Spurrier said those suggesting Clowney take the year off don't understand the value of team competition.
Clowney was an All-American this past season as a sophomore. He had 13½ sacks, and a helmet-jarring hit in the Outback Bowl against Michigan on New Year's Day that was the first candidate for play of the year.
"Since that hit in the Outback bowl," Spurrier said, "I think he's become the No. 1 talked-about player. Maybe more than Johnny Manziel."