Jadeveon Clowney comes across with extreme confidence about his preparation for the NFL draft and his place among the elite first-round prospects. The former South Carolina star believes he should be the No. 1 overall pick, and has explained why to anyone who's asked. But that doesn't mean he's got everything about the pre-draft blitz -- the training, the combine, the pro day and more -- completely figured out. And for that, he's leaning in part upon Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
"We went to the same high school and played two years in college together," Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. "In my hometown we stay like five minutes away from each other. So he's always hitting me up and asking me what the pre-draft process is about."
Actually, the two crossed for just one year in college, in 2011, Gilmore's last as a Gamecock and Clowney's first as an incoming true freshman. But both having attended Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe High School, it must have seemed like longer. Gilmore said Clowney and he have stayed in touch both by phone and text message. According to Gilmore, doubts about Clowney's work ethic haven't gotten under the star defensive end's skin.
"He's the type of player where people can talk, but he's still going to do his thing and have fun," Gilmore said. "He's a great dude and keeps a level head. Like I tell him just keep working hard and everything else will take care of itself. He doesn't really like to listen to negative talk. Just go out and play. That's his approach."
Gilmore knows well the pressures Clowney will be under as a rookie first-round prospect, having been the No. 10 overall pick himself in 2012. Clowney, however, could be the No. 1 pick overall by the Houston Texans.
And that's a pressure not even Gilmore will be able to explain.