The nation's top recruit according to Rivals, 6'6", 247-pound defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (who had 29.5 sacks as a senior) (!) is going to announce today at 10:15 EST on ESPNU which school has won the Clowney Derby. It may all be for show, as the New York Times seems to think he's not going to qualify anyway, based on statements from People Who Know.
Assume that he does qualify, though, or at least assume he gets back on track after a year at some junior college. Who are we as Tennessee fans rooting for? Clowney's apparently choosing between Clemson and South Carolina (he's from Rock Hill, SC), but Alabama appears to be in the mix as well. Between Clemson and Carolina, Clemson's the obvious duh choice here for Vol fans because it would put him safely out of the SEC.
But between Carolina and 'Bama, I'm going to say Carolina. Tennessee plays South Carolina and 'Bama each year. The Tide is more of a rival than Carolina, so there's some emotional investment there, but if the goal is to win the SEC, you have to win the SEC East first, and a loss to 'Bama isn't generally as bad, relatively speaking, as a loss to South Carolina. On the other hand, Alabama is a much better team, and they certainly don't need any help. Clowney would help the Gamecocks, too, but I'd think the team would still be easier to beat than 'Bama even if the Gamecocks had Clowney. Of course, if SoCar gets Clowney, that could develop some recruiting momentum for the Gamecocks, and we don't want more annual competition in the East, right?
Still, if it comes down to the Gamecocks or the Tide, I think I'm pulling for the Gamecocks. Of course, we all win if he chooses Clemson. So turn your shirt inside out for today and get ready to say Go Tigers.