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Spurrier on Clowney: Amazing talent, OK work ethic

Mississippi State v South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 02: Jadeveon Clowney #7 of the South Carolina Gamecocks smiles on the sidelines during their game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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The scouting report on former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has long been that his athletic talent is second to none, but he doesn’t always work as hard as he should. Clowney’s college coach, Steve Spurrier, is doing nothing to dispel that notion.

Asked on NFL AM to assess Clowney, Spurrier gushed about his greatness as a player and downplayed talk that his production was down in 2013. But Spurrier also acknowledged that Clowney wasn’t the hardest worker on the team.

“Even though his production this year wasn’t near what it was last year, he had two or three guys waiting on him just about every play,” Spurrier said. “His run defense was very good, though, and he chased down a bunch of guys and made tackles. His sacks -- he had to run around two or three guys just about every game. I don’t think teams will quite do that in the NFL, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Asked about Clowney’s work ethic, Spurrier didn’t sound as enthused, suggesting that Clowney didn’t work as hard as some of the other star players Spurrier coached at South Carolina.

“He was OK. It wasn’t like Marcus Lattimore, you know, every player is a little different,” Spurrier said. “His work habits are pretty good, they’re not quite like Lattimore, maybe Stephon Gilmore, Melvin Ingram, some of those guys, but when the ball is snapped he’s got something no one else has.”

Clowney’s talent will make him a Top 10 pick. An NFL team getting him to improve that work ethic may be what it takes for Clowney to become not a good player, but a great player.