Georgia coach Mark Richt raised a few eyebrows at a speaking engagement Monday night when discussing South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. In short, he called him potentially the best football player on the planet.
Ridiculous, of course.
The notion that Clowney is a better football player than anyone in the NFL is laughable. And if Clowney is widely considered the best player in the NFL one day, it will still be laughable. At least, laughably premature.
It would be akin to suggesting that a high school football player is just as good as anyone in college. Until a player reaches, competes and exceeds at the next level up, the "best player anywhere" label needs to stay in the NFL and be assigned to just one guy. Richt has quite possibly uttered the most ludicrous remark since Steve Spurrier said Alabama could hold its own with an NFL team. But then again, you've got to remember who is doing the talking.
You certainly wouldn't ever catch Spurrier saying anything like that, even for a coach known to say some pretty outlandish things. Even Clowney -- the top-rated player in the Talented Top 50 of NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah -- wouldn't make such a presumption. If a sportswriter were to put those words in print as his own, he'd get raked over the Twitter coals in no time. But Richt coaches a division rival to the Gamecocks. And just as coaches are famous for sandbagging how good their own teams are, they're often just as loose with praise of opponents. Especially key opponents.