South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney says he can contend for the Heisman Trophy next year

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South Carolina's consensus All-American Jadeveon Clowney has spent much of this month collecting honors and attending banquets as one of college football's best players.

The Hendricks Award winner has even bigger goals ahead in 2013.

Clowney believes "a defensive player can win the Heisman next year."

He has already begun working to make sure he's the defensive player in contention for the sport's biggest individual prize next season.

The Southeastern Conference's leader with 13 sacks was back at practice last weekend as the 11th-ranked Gamecocks (10-2) prepare for No. 19 Michigan (8-4) in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.

Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said last week the Gamecocks' 6-foot-6 sophomore was already good enough to be the No. 1 overall pick if he were eligible next spring.