South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney showed speed and poise at the NFL Scouting Combine on Monday.


The 6-foot-5, 266-pound Clowney lived up to the hype at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis when he posted an official 40-yard dash time of 4.53 seconds. Clowney then demonstrated his composure in how he handled critical comments made by Auburn defensive end Dee Ford.

Related: How does Jadeveon Clowney compare?

Clowney’s day started by posting unofficial runs of 4.47 and 4.48. His official time was released after every defensive lineman had finished the drill.

“That’s crazy, flat-out crazy,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said.

Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp called Clowney’s speed “frightening.”

Clowney said Saturday he wanted to be the top pick in May’s draft and he likely made it harder for Houston to pass on him. It’s hard to imagine, at this point of the draft process, Clowney slipping past the Jaguars at No. 3 on May 8.

How fast was Clowney?

■ His time was faster than any quarterback at this year’s combine, well ahead of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel (4.68). Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas led the way with a 4.60.

■ Clowney posted a better 40 time than Carolina’s Cam Newton and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick did when they competed at the combine.

■ He was the fastest defensive lineman, with Bloomsburg’s Larry Webster (252 pounds) running a second-best time of 4.58.

■ Clowney’s time surpassed, equaled or compared to three receivers likely to be taken in the first round. Texas A&M’s Mike Evans (6-4, 231 pounds) ran exactly as fast as Clowney. Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 240) was slower at 4.61, while Southern California’s Marqise Lee (5-11, 192) ran a 4.52.

■ Only 13-of-34 running backs at the combine bested his time. The heaviest of those 13 weighed 222 pounds.

Clowney also posted the second-best vertical jump at 37½ inches and had the second-best broad jump at 10-feet, 4-inches. He told the NFL Network he was happy with his 40 time.

Clowney didn’t participate in every drill, citing a hip flexor that tightened up while running the 40. He also didn’t engage in a war of words with Ford.

Ford, the Senior Bowl’s Most Valuable Player, called Clowney “a blind dog in a meat market” during a Sirius XM Radio interview on Sunday. Ford clarified his comments to mean that while he plays with proper technique, Clowney relies solely on his athleticism. Ford also stated he was better than Clowney and didn’t back off that statement on Monday in an interview with the NFL Network, although he said his comments weren’t personal.

Ford (6-2, 252) was unable to compete in drills Monday after the combine medical staff flagged him for issues relating to back surgery to correct a herniated disc in 2011.

Ford said he’ll be fine and will go through every drill at his pro day March 4. He is projected as a late-first, early-second round pick.

Clowney and Ford had a friendly conversation during the drills, laughing and hugging. Clowney didn’t verbally spar with Ford when asked about the situation by the NFL Network after the drills were over.

“He’s just saying that to build his stock up,” Clowney said. “It didn’t bother me.”

In three years at South Carolina, Clowney recorded 24 sacks with 47 tackles behind the line and nine forced fumbles.

Ford, a redshirt senior, tallied 20½ sacks with 27½ tackles behind the line and three forced fumbles.

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