By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says having one of college football's top playmakers in Jadeveon Clowney was never a burden for the Gamecocks last season, no matter how big a distraction he seemed to be at times.
Spurrier says Clowney became the center of college football once he popped the helmet off Michigan tailback Vincent Smith at the 2013 Outback Bowl. He drew national coverage that put the affable defensive end - and the Gamecocks - in the spotlight nearly every day.
It won't be so frenzied when South Carolina starts fall camp Friday night. Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick by Houston, is among several high-profile players including quarterback Connor Shaw and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles who were instrumental to the Gamecocks success the past three seasons.