Criticism about Jadeveon Clowney’s work ethic appeared to receive a deeper level of truth, when University of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier recently acknowledged the star defensive end wasn’t always a hard worker as a Gamecock.

Spurrier clarified his comment Wednesday, speaking to a small group of reporters about an hour after Clowney finished his pro day and Williams-Brice Stadium had cleared out.

Spurrier said San Francisco running back Marcus Lattimore, a former Gamecock, was a workhorse during his time in Columbia and set a bar none of his teammates could reach. Clowney definitely worked hard, though, and Spurrier played down lingering concerns about the athlete’s devotion to football.

“I said (Lattimore) was exceptional. I maybe should not have compared (Clowney),” Spurrier said. “I should have said, ‘Jadeveon, with the rest of the team, he was right there doing what they did.’ Maybe that would’ve helped out. I compared him to a guy who went above and beyond what was asked.”

A reporter then asked a follow-up question: What if a coach asks if Clowney’s a hard worker?

“I’d say, ‘He’s fine, he’s fine,’ ” Spurrier said. “Yeah, he’s fine.”

Spurrier added that “everybody” works hard in football. What separates athletes is talent, and there’s no question about Clowney’s gift.