"The Heisman is not a big deal for me," he told assembled media on Tuesday. "Winning the SEC championship's a big deal to me. Getting drafted high is a big deal."
Publicly downplaying his interest in the bronze statue is probably a smart approach to take. After all, no pure defensive player has ever won the trophy and Clowney's chances of making history are slim, despite the hype surrounding his candidacy.
But don't believe for a second that he doesn't want to win the Heisman. A player at his level is nothing if not a competitor and the possibility of capturing the most prestigious individual honor in sports is a siren call few can resist.
Besides, he's already got a good strategy to avoid the kind of trouble that can derail a run at the Heisman. Pay attention, Johnny Manziel:
"Just stay out of bars and stay off Twitter," he said.
But if Tuesday was any indication, Clowney doesn't need Twitter to talk smack. He had some choice words for the quarterback of his team's archrival.
"You can see in his eyes that he's scared of our D-line," Clowney said of Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, who he sacked 4.5 times last season. "He is scared every time we play them. I know he's listening to this right now, but I'm telling the truth."
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was asked about Clowney's remark and simply noted his talent as a player and his disruptive play against Clemson a year ago. The coach said he doesn't believe his quarterback fears anyone.
Boyd was unavailable for comment.
He won't have to wait long to start backing up his words: South Carolina opens SEC play at Georgia.
The Gamecocks end the regular season by hosting Clemson.
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