One year ago, the PUMA-clad Jadeveon Clowney–the star of many highlight montages and tall tales at the University of South Carolina–was the newly-signed No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and about to kick off the most publicly anticipated rookie season for a defensive player since the Texans took Mario Williams with the No. 1 pick in 2006. He signed with PUMA as the perfect champion for their “forever faster” mantra, a new-age defensive beast who was so athletic and so blindingly fast off the ball that he was capable of making hits that even got LeBron out of his seat and tweeting. Clowney’s destruction of Michigan running back Vincent Smith came with such force and speed that many wondered whether it was the greatest hit ever. (When Clowney first signed with PUMA, he promised new “hits” like that one, too.)
But then Clowney suffered a concussion during the preseason. In his regular season debut, he went down with a right knee injury that caused him to miss six games. Clowney came back and tried to play through the pain, but he was in and out of the lineup the rest of the way. Houston failed to make the postseason as his rookie season consisted of four games, seven tackles, and zero sacks. In December, he had microfracture surgery; his second procedure on that right knee in that calendar year.
The Texans’ 9-7 finish last year wasn’t enough to play into the NFL’s second season. However, that could change in 2015. Not because of the strength of Houston’s schedule, but because the defense just got a lot scarier thanks to the free agent acquisition of five-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork and, most importantly, the return of outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney.
After months of watching, waiting, and working out, today Clowney is poised to make an impact in Year 2 of his pro career. The man who was expected to help turn the Texans around will be operating under the growing shadow created by J.J. Watt’s success, plus there’s a new class of NFL rookies vying for the spotlight given to exciting newcomers. Still, despite all of that, very few players in the game have Clowney’s combination of speed and power. PUMA knows it. His teammates know it. Offensive coordinators know it. You know you’re in an athletic class all by yourself when a brand decides that in one of your first commercial campaigns, you’ll be delivering all online product…on-foot…and by breaking people’s doors down. That fits Clowney’s game perfectly.
Here are 5 Reasons Why No One Is Forgetting About PUMA’s Jadeveon Clowney.
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image via @PUMA