The SEC Media Days player representatives for each team have been announced. For USC, it's Jadeveon Clowney, Bruce Ellington, and Connor Shaw.
Clowney, of course, is the headliner of this group. After winning the Hendricks Award, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and being named first-team All-American a year ago, Clowney is widely regarded as the best defensive player in college football coming into his junior season, and very possibly the best player overall. He's almost unanimously considered a top-three draft pick at worst after he makes the inevitable decision to forego his final year of eligibility.
Ellington, another junior, enters the season as the Gamecocks most seasoned receiver after a breakout year in 2012 in which he led the team in receiving yards. With Ace Sanders gone, he'll have a chance to solidify his role as the team's go-to receiver in 2013. Moreover, as a recognized locker-room leader in addition to being a star on the basketball team, he's one of the most visible faces of not just USC football but USC athletics in general.
Shaw, finally, enters his senior season in his third year as the team's starting QB. After throwing for nearly 2000 yards and a 158 passer rating along with 435 yards rushing a year ago despite frequent injuries that limited his production or kept him off the field, Shaw, if he stays healthy, has an excellent chance this year to compete for all-conference honors. Of course, he may have to fend off backup Dylan Thompson to do so. This is Shaw's second year representing the team at this event.
This marks the first time in recent memory when the selections seem relatively uncontroversial or comment-provoking. In 2011, a lot of folks were miffed that Stephen Garcia wasn't chosen to represent the team in his senior year. Of course, Garcia's frequent disciplinary issues and propensity to attract the wrong kind of attention were clearly at the heart of that decision, but his oftentimes vocal supporters still would have liked to have seen him. Last year, the decision not to send Marcus Lattimore drew the most attention, although there were similarly understandable reasons for that decision. This year, it seems like the choices are about as close to perfect as possible. The only other player I might have considered is Kelcy Quarles, but I prefer the decisions that were made.
And I'm certainly stoked to hear Clowney's interviews. What do you think about these selections?