Clayborn prepares for Gamecocks, beach

Dec. 18, 2008

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Gamecocks, Beach Day and staying motivated are three items on the mind of University of Iowa sophomore defensive end Adrian Clayborn.

A high right ankle sprain limited Clayborn to 10 starts in 12 games for the Hawkeyes in 2008 (he did not start against Wisconsin or Illinois), but still the 6-foot-3, 282-pounder from St. Louis finished 10th on the team in tackles with 48 (14 solo, 34 assists). He was second to All-American Mitch King with eight tackles for loss (for 47 yards) and tied for second with 2.0 quarterback sacks.

During his redshirt season, Clayborn attended the 2006 Alamo Bowl, but the 2009 Outback Bowl against South Carolina on New Year’s Day will be his first official postseason action.

“I can’t wait to play against a team like South Carolina,” Clayborn said. “Playing in a January 1 bowl for my first bowl is going to be exciting.”

There are at least two things keeping Clayborn focused for the next 14 days. The first is his fear that the opposing Gamecocks are out-working him during pre-bowl practices. The second is being snubbed by the all-conference voters.

“Part of staying motivated is knowing that South Carolina is working just as hard as we are,” Clayborn said. “They’re down there working and lifting and all that, so you have to keep all that in the back of your mind.”

Iowa finished the regular season 8-4 overall, 5-3 in the Big Ten Conference. South Carolina was 7-5, 4-4 in the Southeastern Conference. The Hawkeyes won their final three games and five of their last six. South Carolina lost its final two and three of its last five.

When postseason Big Ten awards were bestowed, seven Hawkeye defenders were named either first team, second team or honorable mention. That is understandable considering that in league games, Iowa was first in rushing defense (97.9 yards per game), and third in both total defense (306.5) and scoring defense (16.2 points per game). But Clayborn’s name was missing from the honor roll.

“That will definitely motivate me to get out there with those guys because I believe I can be at that level,” Clayborn said. “It gives me something to look forward to and work for. I was pleased with my performance, but I can always do better. I believe I provided a little bit of a spark to our defense and I’ve got two years to go, so I can always get better.”

“I heard it’s fun and I haven’t been on a beach in probably two years. Where I’m from in St. Louis, we have the Mississippi River, but no beaches. I can’t wait to get down there.”
UI sophomore
Adrian Clayborn

The Hawkeyes leave for Tampa on Dec. 24. Of all the events on the itinerary, Clayborn is most looking forward to Bowl Beach Day on Dec. 30 at Clearwater Beach.

“I heard it’s fun and I haven’t been on a beach in probably two years,” he said. “Where I’m from in St. Louis, we have the Mississippi River, but no beaches. I can’t wait to get down there.”

Clayborn collected a season-high eight tackles during a 46-3 against Maine on Aug. 30. He had seven stops against Iowa State and Northwestern.

Iowa will participate in its seventh Outback Bowl practice this evening inside The Bubble.

Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes who live in the Heartland or in the Sunshine State or in all points between should note that the UI Athletics Ticket Office is accepting ticket orders for the 2009 Outback Bowl. Click here to purchase your tickets online. Fans can also purchase over the phone by calling 1-800 IA-HAWKS or over-the-counter at the UI Athletics Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.