If South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney opts to enter the NFL draft as a junior, it won't go down as a very well-kept secret.
Among other indicators, his defensive coordinator has left no doubt of his expectation when asked about the potential first-round pick.
"Jadeveon is going to play every game he can possibly play at South Carolina and then he'll do his NFL workouts or whatever he is going to do," said Gamecocks defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, according to The State.
Clowney has been bothered by a variety of injuries this season, and with his availability less than certain near the end of the season, Ward was apparently confirming Clowney's health for South Carolina's bowl game. Bone spurs in Clowney's foot have been a problem all season, but particularly late in the year. Clowney also dealt with a midseason rib cage injury.
Scouts have identified Clowney as a high first-round pick if he enters the draft. He has said he will undergo surgery to remove the spurs after the season. South Carolina will learn its bowl fate this weekend, and Clowney's surgery should follow soon after. He is not expected to recover quickly enough to fully participate in the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
Also expected to enter the NFL draft early off the Gamecocks' defense are cornerback Vic Hampton and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, though none of the three have made a formal announcement.