South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney on Wednesday was named winner of the 2012 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award.
It is the first time a sophomore has won the Hendricks award for the nation’s top defensive end. Clowney is the award’s 11th winner, claiming nearly two-thirds of the final-round votes, a record.
The five other finalists for the award presented by the Ted Hendricks Foundation were: Morgan Breslin from Southern California, Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner from Florida State, Sam Montgomery of Greenwood S.C. from LSU and Damontre Moore from Texas A&M.
Clowney is a record-setter in several respects this season. In addition to his record vote share for the award, he set new South Carolina standards for sacks in a season (13), tackles for loss in a season (21.5) and sacks in a single game (4.5 vs. Clemson).
Meanwhile, SEC coaches named Clowney as the conference’s top defensive player and USC punt returner Ace Sanders as the SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year. They are the first Gamecocks to win the awards since Carolina joined the SEC in 2002.
Sanders, a 5-8, 175-pound junior from Bradenton, Fla., set the Carolina single-season record for punt return yards with 363. He was the top punt returner in the SEC, averaging 14.5 yards per return, with seven returns of 27 yards or more. Sanders was a first-team All-SEC returner and a second team All-Purpose back according to the Coaches and a second-team returner by the Associated Press.
Other winners are Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M as top offensive player, Caleb Sturgis of Florida sharing the award with Sanders, Manziel as top freshman, and Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M and Will Muschamp of Florida as co-coaches of the year.
Clowney’s honors came as a follow-up to his freshman season when he totaled eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss. At the conclusion of 2011, Clowney was named Southeastearn Conference Freshman of the Year by the SEC coaches and earned first-team freshman all-America honors from seven different media organizations.
Clowney’s other football accolades this season include:
- Unanimous selection to Associated Press All-SEC First Team.
- Coaches All-SEC First Team.
- Three-time SEC Lineman of the Week.
- AFCA All-America selection.
- Sporting News Midseason All-American
Since Sunday, Clowney has kept a busy schedule on the premier football awards circuit. He was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year), the Vince Lombardi Award (top lineman or linebacker) and will be attending the presentation ceremony as a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player).
The Rock Hill native is no stranger to the attention he is receiving. As a senior at South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, Clowney was generally regarded as the No. 1 recruit in the nation. He was named South Carolina’s “Mr. Football” and entertained scholarship offers from as many as 50 universities.
His teammates will tell you that Clowney is a dynamic individual off the field as well as on it. With a flair that fits his personality, Clowney waited until his 18th birthday to make his announcement and sign his National Letter of Intent - all in front of his family, friends and a television audience.
In announcing the 2012 winner, Ted Hendricks said: “Our committee has made another outstanding choice for this year’s award. Jadeveon Clowney is an explosive football player who is always in pursuit of the ball. With his extra arm and torso length, as well as outstanding quickness, he is able to shed blockers, fire off the edge and pursue the ball carrier aggressively with purpose.
“He has a constant motor, a strong work ethic and never seems to tire. He gave opposing blockers nightmares all season. If they blinked, Jadeveon was already past them. I am pleased to add another outstanding student athlete to our Hendricks Award winners. Congratulations to Jadeveon Clowney!”