According to a report Wednesday from ESPN, Spurrier had the All-American on his ballot this past season when Clowney finished sixth in the overall tally. From the looks of it, though, Clowney (who picked up four first-place votes) may not have been on the top of his coach's list:
"I generally vote for some player on my team,” Spurrier said. “I just feel like I should, so he got one of my votes last year."
In talking further about his vote, the 1966 Heisman winner from Florida revealed a stark truth about how hard it is for a defensive player to win the trophy:
"It's hard for a defensive player to do a whole lot. He had the big hit against Michigan, and other than that, their offensive tackle blocked him pretty well. When you've got a couple of guys blocking one guy, it's hard to take over a ballgame."
In other words, no matter how well a defensive player performs, the offense can always scheme around him. As a result, even a great end like Clowney has limited opportunities to affect the outcome of a game. If he gets two early sacks, he draws a double team. If he holds up against the run, teams just run the other way.
Meanwhile, a quarterback touches the ball on every play. A running back might get 30 touches in a game. Thus, these positions maintain an inherent advantage in the race for the trophy.
And that's why no matter how good Clowney may be, he still remains a long shot for the Heisman.