Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Trayvon Mullen and Tre Lamar will forego their final year of eligibility at Clemson to declare for the NFL Draft. I was expecting them to do just that. In fact, I was just telling someone yesterday morning that I'd be surprised if Mullen didn't go pro. He rose up draft boards after a stellar junior year and finished strong as the Defensive MVP in the National Championship Game. He made himself a lot of money Monday night!
Lamar also had a great season and was a Butkus Award Finalist.
Ferrell said a couple times it's not as much a foregone conclusion as most think, but I would have been very surprised if he returned. He will go out with 2 national titles in his 3 years of playing and is a sure first-rounder. Not to mention that his 3 starting linemates are all leaving.
This shouldn't hurt the Tigers too much with the guys they have coming back at corner. Hopefully K'Von Wallace will return, and although he started at safety this year, he can move over to corner if needed.
As for linebacker, the Tigers will lose seniors Kendall Joseph and JD Davis as well as Lamar, but Shaq Smith showed a lot of improvement this season. Skalski, Chad Smith and Baylon Spector should also be ready for a big year. It's simply annual reloading time for the Tigers!
On the defensive front, Xavier Thomas got a ton of playing time this season, as did Nyles Pinckney. Then you've got a load of young talent in K.J. Henry, Jordan Williams, Justin Foster, Justin Mascol and Darnell Jefferies.
Here are statements from the players:
First, I want to thank the Clemson Family for the experience I’ve gained and the opportunity to play on this team for the past three years. This school and program have helped me become a better person on and off the field. Because of the culture, our fans and for many other reasons, Death Valley will always hold special memories for me.
I want to thank Coach Swinney for giving me the opportunity to be a student-athlete and Coach Venables for recruiting me and believing in me since day one. Coach Reed, thank you for the energy and effort you invested as my position coach. I wouldn’t be the player I am today without each of you, and I am deeply grateful.
I cannot thank my teammates enough. You boys constantly pushed me to be better in every aspect of life. I will take the relationships I have created with you for the rest of my life. The memories we have are unforgettable and I am thankful to have walked this journey with you.
Additionally, I must thank the Clemson University staff and family for providing me with an excellent education and always supporting me.
Lastly, without my family, none of this would be possible. I want to thank my mother, father and brothers for encouraging me through the whole process. I still remember throwing a football at five years old and dreaming that one day I would have a chance to reach the highest level. Without you, I wouldn’t be standing where I am today, and I can’t imagine being on this journey without your unfailing love. Thank you for helping me achieve my dreams.
With all this being said, it was a tough decision, but I left it in God’s hands. I am ready to move on to the next chapter in life. I have decided to forgo my senior year and declare for the NFL Draft.
I want Clemson to know that I will always be a part of the Clemson Family. To the secondary, y’all hold it down! To the coaches and support staff, thank y’all for continuing to guide me and push me to be a better leader. I am excited about pursuing my dreams and entering this next stage of life!
I don’t even know where to begin right now.
Clemson has been a true blessing for me these past three years. I have accomplished the three things I wanted the most: to grow as a man, to grow spiritually, and to become a better football player. I’m also thankful for all the adversities and storms I went through here at Clemson. It has helped to make me who I am today.
I’m thankful for all the coaches and support staff, my teammates, my brothers for life, and the friendships and connections that I have made during my time here. I’m thankful for my professors, and I’m thankful for the fans. You are the best fans in the world for the support you have given me and for helping me achieve these goals.
I have given Clemson all I have. Through prayers and conversations with my family, I believe that my next step in life is to forgo my senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
Thank you for all that you have given me and I ask for your continued prayers and support as I enter the next phase of my life.
Dear Clemson Family,
I cannot truly express my thanks and my gratitude for the many blessings I’ve had in my time as a student-athlete at Clemson. First, I want to thank my mom, my dad and my sister. I am so thankful for their unwavering love and support and am proud to represent the Lamar family.
I want to thank Coach Venables for pouring his time and energy into my development. Since my days at Roswell High School, he has been committed to my development as a player, as a student and as a man, and I will always be grateful to him for it.
I also want to thank Coach Swinney for what he’s built at Clemson and for allowing me to be a part of it. The world has begun to see what we already know -- that is that Clemson is a special place filled with special people. Coach Swinney loves and serves his players, and I will always appreciate his role in this time of my life.
I must also thank my brothers in the locker room. It’s been an honor to step on the field with each of you guys, and I’ll always be proud of what we accomplished together.
To the Clemson Family, I will never forget Death Valley and the energy you brought to it every week. You are truly the best fans in the world. You helped make my three years here at Clemson special, and I will carry great memories with me for the rest of my life.
With all that said, after much consideration, I have elected to forgo my senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft. I am so thankful for my entire time at Clemson, and though I may wear a new uniform going forward, I will always remain a Clemson Tiger.
Just a kid from Roswell,
Dear Clemson Family,
For those who know me, understand how hard it is for me to write a letter like this because it means the coming to an end of a truly life-changing experience to be at my second home the last 3-and-a-half years. My love for this team, program and school is everlasting and the memories it has given me will forever hold a special place in my heart.
It all started with Coach Venables and my former coach, Marion Hobby. They’re the reason I came to Clemson, and every day I stepped on the field I wanted to prove myself to them because I know they expected great things from me. Coach Swinney, he is the reason I say Clemson is where I “needed” to be and not where I “wanted” to be. The love he has for his players is unmatched and he taught me about having a vision for my life and where to build my foundation, which is in Christ, and that’s why he is so important to my success. Also Coach Bates and Coach Ski, y’all gave me some of my best memories at Clemson, I’ve told you both the love I’ve got for y’all and I know y’all have got my back through anything.
To my mother and family, you have been my backbone throughout my life and I’ve only wanted to make you proud. You have given me everything I needed to be successful even when you couldn’t get it for yourself and I will continue to be my best for you.
And to the Clemson Family, you all are the best fans in the world and you are the reason why this decision is so hard, because the people here are what make it so special. I am blessed to have been a part of this family. Lastly, to my teammates —to my brothers — I can honestly say my love for y’all is deeper than football and I will always cherish the time we have and will continue to spend together, as my kids will call y’all “Uncle” one day.
With that being said, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the NFL Draft this year and will continue to chase my dream of being the best me I can be. #DreamWithMeBaby #MissileOut
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