Demon Clowney discusses being mentored by Sam Williams, filling new role as Rebel linebacker
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss sophomore Demon Clowney has had two role models in his career. One he knows through blood, the other he knows through sweat.
If he turns out like either, it will cause Rebels’ opponents to shed many tears.
The Baltimore native is the cousin of Jadeveon Clowney, the top pick of the 2014 NFL Draft and now a member of the Cleveland Browns. He was a two-time All-American and the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.
Jadeveon is also known for one of the most iconic tackles in college football history when as a South Carolina Gamecock, he obliterated a Michigan running back in the Outback Bowl. (Click here for that play.)
Although he shares a name with his famous cousin, Clowney sees his style differently from that of his relative — but there is one similarity.
“Pass rushing really,” Clowney said about how he compares to his Jadeveon. “He’s bigger, bigger in stature…so you’re really a pass rusher. I try to model my pass rush and a lot after Von Miller, you know, I feel like that’s my body type of thing. So, just the pass rushing stuff like that, being physical, violent….that’s really it,” he explained.
In eight career games at Ole Miss, Clowney has recorded six tackles, one for loss, and a sack in limited playing time.
Since his time as a Rebel, Clowney was mentored by former Rebel defensive lineman Sam Williams, who is now in his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys.
“Like I said, I’m a competitor, I want to be on the field, but you know we had guys like Sam Williams who deserved to be (on the field). You see what he did and where he is right now,” Clowney said.
“So of course, it was tough for me because I’m a competitor and I want to play — but it was good for me to sit behind someone, see what it takes to get to that next level and what it takes, how to practice just practice routines and stuff like that.”
Instead of brooding over his time on the sideline, Clowney used that opportunity to pick Williams’ brain to learn how to improve his game
“Sam was a great guy; we talked a lot,” Clowney said. “Of course, I asked some things…what he sees and how he does what he does.”
There may not have been a better person to have as a mentor. As a senior, Williams had 57 tackles and an amazing 12.5 sacks.
But what Clowney learned wasn’t only about what to do on gameday.
“To be honest, I think it’s just practice, learning how to practice at this level,” Clowney said of how he has grown as a player. “Learning what it takes to be a guy like Sam was — an All-SEC type of player. Just practice and every aspect of my game. I don’t really try to focus on one thing, I want to be all around if it’s at the edge or linebacker.”
Clowney is listed as a defensive end on the roster but has been playing linebacker during camp. He has been able to play multiple positions simply because of the amount of talent on the defensive side of the ball for Ole Miss. That is allowing the coaching staff to see several players in drills.
“Camp has been great. As far as the rotation, really, we don’t have a set depth chart because we have a lot of depth. So really there’s no depth chart, we are all just getting reps right now.”
Demon Clowney on the Rebels’ depth
Gameday preparation will soon begin for the season opener Sept. 3 against Troy in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.