NCAA FB

Clowney: I will be eligible

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Thayer Evans

Senior College Football writer Thayer Evans previously wrote for The New York Times and Houston Chronicle, as well as contributed to The Economist, USA Today, The Washington Post and more. Follow him on Twitter.

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ROCK HILL, S.C.

After months of being asked where he will attend college, Jadeveon Clowney, the nation’s top high school football recruit this year, answered the question Monday morning when he chose South Carolina.

But now the 6-foot-6, 247-pound defensive end from South Pointe High School faces another question that’s sure to be just as persistent: Will he meet the NCAA’s minimum academic requirement to be able to play next season for the Gamecocks?

In an interview with FOXSports.com, Clowney said he will be eligible to play at South Carolina next season and detailed his academic record, which included poor grades early in his high school career. When a reporter asked to review his transcript, he said it was unavailable.

“I will qualify,” Clowney said. “No doubts. Everybody know that.”

Citing two people familiar with Clowney’s academic record, an article in The New York Times on Saturday questioned whether he will qualify. In the article, Troy Davis, the coach at Hargrave Military Academy, a postgraduate school in Chatham, Va., said he had reviewed Clowney’s transcript and described it as comparable to those of other players who did not meet the NCAA’s requirements.

Davis told The New York Times that Clowney’s transcript had “a lot of D’s on there” and one of Clowney's teachers told the newspaper that “he may play it down to the line about qualifying.”

Clowney said his core grade-point average is currently in the 2.5 to 2.6 range and that he has the equivalent of an ACT test score sum of 64.

Based on that ACT test score, Clowney would need exactly a 2.6 core grade-point average to be eligible to play next season, according to the NCAA’s website.

He said he made straight A’s last semester at South Pointe High and will retake the ACT on Feb. 28 and another time after that. Currently, he said, he is retaking freshman English and geometry from his sophomore year to replace D grades that he made in both classes.

Clowney said he is also taking a statistics class at night through Rock Hill School District Three, the same district that his high school is part of. He attributes his poor grades early in high school to his initial desire to do only what it would take to graduate and said he didn’t have plans to play college football back then.

“I was in the streets a lot,” Clowney said. “The streets were everything to me.”

On Monday, Clowney told FOXSports.com that he has a learning disability, the first time he has publicly acknowledged it. A source familiar with Clowney's academic situation confirmed he was diagnosed with his learning disability in middle school by Rock Hill School District Three.

Because of it, Clowney receives extra time on the ACT and has that option for his school tests.

“Everybody learns differently,” Clowney said.

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