NEW YORK – As sports fans gear up for March Madness, this week’s Sports Illustrated, which hit newsstands Wednesday, takes a look at two college football stars who are ready to burst onto the Heisman scene.
Coverage is part of an 18-page Spring Football 2013 preview.
Appearing on a March 4 regional cover is University of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, a 6-6, 273-pound All-America standout who many consider to be the first-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. This is just the second time a South Carolina player has ever been featured on an SI cover.
In “The Hit,” senior writer Tim Layden takes a deeper look at how Clowney’s bone-crushing tackle of Michigan’s Vincent Smith at the Outback Bowl was “a last breath of football sanity for Clowney.” With Carolina down 22-21 in the fourth quarter, teammate Damario Jeffery turned to Clowney and said: “Just make a play.” Clowney responded: “I’m with you.”
The hit burst Clowney onto the national scene, as online video hits have topped well over 4 million aggregate views. Jon Gruden says: “He’s the number 1 pick whenever he comes out.”
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, who last year led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 season, is on another regional cover. This is the 16th time an Ohio State football player has been featured on the SI cover.
Senior writer Thomas Lake examines how Miller’s difficult childhood growing up in Ohio helped him rise to stardom through faith and hard work. Miller’s father was forced into early disability retirement with heart trouble, leading to financial difficulties for the family, and on the day Braxton announced his intent to attend Ohio State his mother was arrested for a domestic disturbance.
Braxton would not talk about the incident that put his mother on probation for scratching his sister and striking a police officer, but when asked about his parents, he says, “Tryin’ to get my job done. So I could support ‘em in the long run.”
Now you’ll find Miller spending hours in the film room and holding players-only practices with his teammates five times a week this offseason. Tom Herman, Ohio State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, says: “The guy can be as good as there ever was.”
Visit SI.com/cfb for additional spring practice coverage from SI’s college football experts, including an early Top 25.