The signature play of Jadeveon Clowney's football career came on New Year's Day in 2013. The play, affectionately known as the 'hit', was replayed on an endless loop on ESPN for months afterwards. As of today, it has been viewed over 7 million times (on multiple accounts) on YouTube.
Sunday in Nashville, if Clowney is active, he'll be across from one of the key participants in 'The Hit'.
The Titans will have former Michigan Wolverine Tyler Lewan lining up at left tackle, and he was in that same position on the play when Clowney separated running back Vincent Smith from his helmet became a national sensation. The former Gamecock's tackle for loss in that Outback Bowl became one of college football's most memorable hits, yet Clowney downplayed the idea that he trumped Lewan on the play.
"I slid inside of a tight end," Clowney said. "He was blocking down."
Even though Lewan was blocking a different South Carolina defender on that famous play, he had to deal with Clowney plenty in that contest, and thinks very highly of the 2014 first overall pick.
"I played against him one time and the whole time we had a hell of a battle," Lewan said. "My respect is out there for him, absolutely."
Lewan was the 11th pick in the 2014 Draft, and Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said the matchup between the two first rounders will be one to watch.
"That's a great battle," O'Brien said. "I think that's one that you're looking at two young players that were obviously drafted high. I'm familiar with Lewan just with my experience at Penn State when we played him at Michigan last year. He's a heck of a young tackle."
Clowney emphasized that it's more a one-on-one matchup.
"It's a team thing," Clowney said. "This is going to take more than one-on-one for us to win the game. If it's going to be an overall team win, we need to go out there and dominate up front, the secondary needs to cover and we'll just play as a team to win."
Lewan said he and Clowney "became pretty good friends" last spring during the Draft process. The friends will be foes for a few hours on Sunday, if Clowney's indeed active. Kickoff is at noon CT in Nashville.