The great ones leave one.
The greats leave a trail for all to follow.
Two years after taking his last snap as a South Carolina Gamecock, the spectre and legacy of Texans outside linebaker Jadeveon Clowney is still being felt throughout the state of South Carolina and the SEC.
During Day two of the 2015 SEC Media Days, Clowney's name was brought up nearly as much as many of the current Gamecocks. The 'ol Ball Coach Steve Spurrier was asked point blank about Clowney.
Q: Coach, top recruits come in with a ton of hype each year and you're obviously familiar with this having dealt with Jadeveon Clowney?
Two years after the fact and his impact, his legacy still resonates in this area of the country and will probably remain so for a long time.
Spurrier replied "When the ball was snapped, he was the best. Sometimes you have a different program, but as long as they produce during the ball games. I think all teammates understand that, hey, he's going to be there when the ball game starts and go from there."
Gamecock linebacker Skai Moore said that when he shared the field with Clowney in 2013, it was easy, often too easy to relax knowing that Clowney was the ultimate closer.
"He's a freak of nature and he's the best I've ever been on the field with, especially on third down when you just knew 7 (Clowney's jersey number at South Carolina) was going to make a play."
I talked with Andy Staples of SI.com and, this time, I initiated the conversation about Clowney and I didn't even need to hear his comments. His body language told it all. As soon as I asked him about Clowney, he turned to me and had this look on his face that said "you're kidding, a healthy Clowney and JJ Watt?" You know, the stank face. Quite frankly, he didn't even need to say it.
But he did and it remained quite clear his presence looms and may for a while.
As we walked around the lobby wearing our Texans gear, I heard a South Carolina fan say "hey, that's Clowney's team." Some have wondered why we're here and there's a plethora of reasons why we actually are here. We didn't fly to Birmingham thinking that Clowney would be a huge talking point for us but it became apparent that with or without us in the building, he was be for many.
Here's hoping 2015 is the year he gets Houston talking as he builds that legacy right here in our town.
A collection of photos from SEC Media Days.