South Carolina's Clowney will play opener

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday that star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will play in the team's season opener on Aug. 29 against North Carolina.

Clowney returned to practice Tuesday after missing Monday's session with a bruised shoulder.

Clowney is already considered the top NFL Draft prospect heading into his junior year. He is the reigning Hendricks Award winner as the nation's top defensive end and last year finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

In just two seasons for the Gamecocks, Clowney ranks fifth in school history with 21 sacks -- eight shy of the record. He set a Gamecocks single-season mark for sacks last year with 13 and tackles for loss with 23 1/2.