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ROCK HILL, SC (WIS) - Gamecock Nation is still crowing after the country's number 1 high school recruit announced he's coming to the University of South Carolina. Jadeveon Clowney's decision to play for Carolina came after months of uncertainty and relentless hype.
It's the kind of media attention usually reserved for presidential visits or natural disasters, but on Monday it seemed like the eyes of the world were on the now-famous teenager from rock hill.
Choosing a college or university is a pretty big deal to most of us, but in the case of Jadeveon Clowney, it's a matter of national security. At least you'd think so, judging by the media on hand to watch him put on a hat.
"It's kinda crazy, people talk about him all the time," said classmate Rachel Love. "We had a camera crew last week following him around. It was weird. Some kid actually passed out in the lunch line and nobody noticed."
"The New York times came in there and like talked to him and stalked him, went to the bathroom with him, everything," said Tyla Minton.
The attention was the result of months of Internet and TV coverage, thanks in large part to the hype machine that is ESPN.
"I think it's good that the kids get a little bit of exposure so that they can learn how to deal with the time crunches, requests and things like that," said Associate Producer Reginald Walker.
In Clowney's case, that meant stalling for two minutes while ESPN came back from a commercial break, standing at a podium covered in microphones in front of a firing line of cameras, in an auditorium loaded with friends classmates and well wishers.
Finally, after months of anticipation. he made the call.
"My friends have been texting me about it, they're watching in Sumter and Charleston," said Love.
"I think it was crazy," said Minton. "I'm glad he chose his school so everybody can leave him alone."
After Monday's press conference, Clowney and his mother both said how relieved they were that the decision has been put to bed. Clowney's classmates and the rest of South Pointe High School probably feel the same way.
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