Jadeveon Clowney missed South Carolina's game against Kentucky last week, opting not to play due to injury just before the start of the game. While the air has been cleared by head coach Steve Spurrier, it was speculated that Clowney wasn't playing because he wanted to sit out the season and protect his body for the NFL Draft. That may not be such a bad idea.

Jadeveon Clowney watch last year as fellow Gamecock Marcus Lattimore saw his first round projection vanish after his knee was destroyed in a game that he was paid zero dollars to participate in. With Clowney being next to a lock to be a top five pick in the NFL Draft, avoiding a similar injury is all he needs to do to ensure himself a very lucrative rookie contract in the pros.

Of course, any conversation about college athletes protecting themselves financially brings out a sea of people that freak out about the "fair compensation" that Clowney is already receiving by getting a scholarship from South Carolina. Those people ignore the fact that Clowney is going to leave school after his junior year, won't get his degree, and has no use for the education South Carolina and the NCAA are forcing upon him in exchange for three years of free football, but to each their own.

On the other hand, given the "you're either with us or against us" culture of football, it's entirely possible that sitting out the season and protecting his draft stock would end up actually hurting it. We've heard rumblings about things so benign as Johnny Manziel signing autographs being detrimental to draft position, so that's always a possibility for guys that won't do exactly what they're told.

Either way, it makes for an interesting debate, one that could lead to future college football stars holding themselves out to ensure big bucks in the future.

What do you think? Should Clowney sit out and save his financial future, or does he have an obligation to play for South Carolina? Let us know by voting in the poll below.

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