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South Carolina DE Clowney Will Start

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Relatively embattled defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (ribcage) will start Saturday against Arkansas. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images.
Relatively embattled defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (ribcage) will start Saturday against Arkansas. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images.

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will start Saturday against Arkansas, multiple outlets are reporting.

Clowney suffered a strained muscle near his ribcage and took himself out of last week's game against Kentucky before kickoff, prompting coach Steve Spurrier to question the player's desire to help South Carolina in comments to the media.

Clowney is expected to be a Top-3 draft pick in April, but hasn't had a great season for the Gamecocks. Early in the year, he caught criticism for coming out of the game frequently, which some took as evidence he wasn't in good shape.

The 6-foot-6, 274-pound junior has 12 tackles and two sacks this season. He practiced this week starting Wednesday.

"If he's healthy, he's going to start," defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward told reporters Thursday. "He practiced two days in a row and I think he's getting better every day."

South Carolina (4-1, 2-1) has won three consecutive games since a loss at Georgia, including one-possession wins at UCF and against Kentucky the last two weeks. The defense, vaunted before the season, has allowed at least 25 points in every game since the 27-10 win against North Carolina to open the season.