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“He’s really competitive,” Clowney said. “He was just saying stuff. It’s all right.”

If Clowney can’t play against the Razorbacks (3-3, 0-2), he said he’ll be on the sidelines cheering his teammates.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema hopes Clowney’s ready to go.

“As is the case any time that you’re in this type of situation, I’m sure he’s going to play, Bielema said. “I think it’s competitive nature. It’s kind of like when we were getting ready to play A&M. At the beginning of this season, people were taking about him (Manziel) being suspended or not.”

Still, it has not been the season expected out of the SEC’s reigning defensive player of the year.

Clowney has just two sacks and 12 tackles. After setting a school mark of 23 1/2 tackles for loss last season, Clowney’s got just three stops behind the line of scrimmage this year.

He was one of the most talked about player in college football after finishing last season with his helmet-popping hit on Michigan’s Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl.

Some analysts projected that Clowney would have been the top pick in last year’s NFL draft as a sophomore, prompting talk he should sit out this year instead of risking on field injury. Clowney eventually purchased $5 million worth of NCAA-allowed insurance.

Clowney spent a summer in the spotlight. “The Hit” won the ESPY Award for best play while Clowney met with LeBron James and other celebrities.

Feeling the demands and attention were getting out of control, Spurrier cut off access to Clowney once fall camp began. Five games into the season, the distractions have continued to surface but Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw said the latest situation has not created a problem in the locker room.

“All I know is Clowney’s helped us win a lot of games,” Shaw said. “It’s more of a big deal to everyone else instead of us.”


AP Sports Writer Kurt Voigt contributed to this story from Fayetteville, Ark.