Jadeveon Clowney will be only one of 10 Gamecocks who will be evaluated by scouts at USC's Pro Day today, but he'll certainly be the most closely watched athlete on the field. In fact, with the amount of media attention Clowney's every move has received since he dehelmeted Vincent Smith in the 2013 Outback Bowl, Clowney may very well be the most intensely scrutinized athlete today, period.
Clowney, who has been training in Charlotte for the event, is expected not to attempt to beat his 4.53 second 40-yard dash time that he achieved at the NFL Combine in February. However, Clowney will likely work out in the position drills for which he garnered criticism for skipping at the Combine, including coverage drills that may be of interest to coaches who wish to assess whether Clowney is versatile enough to play linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
Media talking heads continue to debate whether Clowney has enough of a motor to live up to his potential in the NFL. Other than by satisfying scouts who were disappointed that he didn't do all the drills at the Combine, there's not a whole lot Clowney can do at Pro Day workouts that will definitively answer the motor questions. Moreover, Texans coach Bill O'Brien likely speaks for many South Carolina fans in calling questions about Clowney's motor "blown out of proportion." If "the game's on the line, Jadeveon plays hard," O'Brien said. Still, while Clowney's motor is likely more of a talking point for ESPN pundits than for the guys who get paid to make good draft choices, expect NFL scouts and coaches who are on hand to scrutinize what Clowney tells them in interviews to see if Clowney says the right things.
As said, Clowney isn't the only player who will work out. Among others under the microscope will be Connor Shaw. While Shaw impressed NFL scouts with his speed and athleticism at the Combine, his arm strength remains a point of concern for teams considering taking the decorated Carolina quarterback in the late rounds of the draft.
Victor Hampton will be another closely watched player. One of the biggest scouting concerns with Hampton is whether he can improve tackling fundamentals, and that question won't be answered tomorrow. However, scouts will be curious to see whether Hampton has made the most of his time in the weight room over the off-season, as he needs to continue building muscle to tackle and jam in the NFL.
Bruce Ellington will also work out. Ellington has impressed scouts with his strong end to the 2013 season and the athleticism he showcased at the Combine. At Pro Day, scouts will continue to evaluate his route-running skills, perceived to be the major flaw in his game other than his height.
Kelcy Quarles highlights the list of other Gamecocks who will work out. What will you be watching for most closely at Pro Day?