The Clemson culture will be put to a different kind of test this postseason.
Although this is something that the Tigers haven’t had happen in the past, missing the College Football Playoff could likely result in some players opting out and preparing for the NFL combine and draft.
Now before you go knocking them, keep in mind that these players potentially have millions of reasons not to risk injury in a mostly meaningless bowl game. Football is a violent sport. Staying healthy isn’t always easy. Just ask Dabo Swinney. Playing in the NFL is a lifelong dream for most of these players, and for some it will be realized. With that in mind let’s discuss the players on this year’s roster with the most draft potential, whom could choose to opt out of the bowl game this year.
1) Justyn Ross: This guy was an absolute monster in the 2018 season. He made the biggest splash a freshman wide receiver has ever made in Clemson history by just absolutely smoking the Notre Dame and Alabama secondary. 2019 was a good season as well, but he missed the entire 2020 season due to a congenital issue he was born with. His stats aren’t quite as good this season, although that is likely due to offensive line and quarterback regression. Look for a healthy Ross to light it up at the combine and have an excellent chance to secure a first or second round NFL draft selection.
2) Andrew Booth Jr: Booth exploded onto the scene last year on national television when he made that magnificent one handed interception. They say DBs can’t catch. Well apparently Booth didn’t get the memo. His pass defense has excelled over the course of the season but his real strength is his ability to make bone crushing tackles in the open field. This is one corner who isn’t afraid of physicality and will punish any ball carrier who comes in his direction. He will be richly rewarded for this by hearing his name called early in the NFL draft.
3) Tyler Davis: You need look no further than the last two seasons to see how much the Clemson run defense missed Tyler Davis when he wasn’t on the field. This is a bad dude and clogs a ton of space in the middle of the field. He started on the defensive line as a freshman for a reason. Last year, he was the only defensive lineman listed on the initial depth chart without an “or” by his name. He is a space eater that is extremely difficult to block and consistently pushes opposing linemen backwards. The only negative is that he does have an injury history, but he recovers quickly. He could very well hear his name called early on draft day.
4) Xavier Thomas: Thomas broke onto the scene in his freshman year with three and a half sacks, none more memorable than the game winner against Syracuse. I’m sure the quarterback still has nightmares after that hit. His sophomore season he struggled playing in the 3-man front, registering just 1.2 sacks, while playing in 12 games. Last year he could not stay healthy, much that related to issues surrounding him having Covid but was able to match his freshman year’s sack total with 3.5, even with limited playing time. This year he has 4.5 sacks with at least four games yet to be played. The NFL is always in need of elite pass rushers, and one lucky team will secure one in the upcoming NFL draft with Xavier Thomas.
5) Jordan McFadden: The offensive line has been a mess this year at Clemson. Everyone knows that. That said, Jordan McFadden has been the one constant, reliable player on the offensive line. He protects DJ Uiagalelei’s blind side for a reason. While the other linemen have been whipped more than a few times this season, McFadden has not and is the best offensive lineman by far that the Tigers have to offer at the moment. He could possibly hear his name called at some point during the draft.
Other notable players that could have a chance to be drafted include: KJ Henry (DE), Sheridan Jones (CB), Frank Ladson (WR), Joseph Ngata (WR), James Skalski (LB), Baylon Spector (LB), Braden Galloway (TE), Matt Bockhorst (OL), Nolan Turner (S), and Lannden Zanders (S).
Clearly, there is no reason to think that anywhere near all these players will opt out, it is reasonable to assume that there may a few, who have a high draft ceiling, that may do so in order to remain healthy. After all, realizing a life long dream and securing financial stability for your family is much more important than a bowl game. Also, it gives the younger players an opportunity to step up and start their next chapter as well.
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One thought on “Clemson Culture Will be Tested In New Way Come Postseason”
What is the point in watching? Can NFL coaches trust college players opting out from the team? If players are only in it for the money, or that takes top priority, what’s the point in watching games when players aren’t playing to win.
College Football Playoff picture and scores: Alabama survives overtime Iron Bowl scare, Oklahoma State edges Oklahoma in wild Bedlam game – The Athletic
Money, money, and more money. That is where college football has been going for a long time, more so today, and we may be losing any reason for watching bowl games. We thought about listing bowl games, then including players opting out, hoping to make it big in the NFL. One game. One last game before heading to the NFL, and they are watching their team play from home. Apparently, we won’t see their best, because, unfortunately, money is the only reason they played football, or at least, that’s the message. Hmmm… Maybe we will show. Here goes:
College football players skipping bowl games
Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
Oregon CB Mykael Wright
Arkansas WR Treylon Burks
SMU WR Reggie Roberson
SMU WR Danny Gray
Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton
Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams
Tennessee CB Alontae Taylor
Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III
West Virginia RB Leddie Brown
Arizona State RB Rachaad White
Purdue DE George Karlaftis
Nevada QB Carson Strong
Pitt QB Kenny Pickett
Pitt CB Damarri Mathis
Mizzou RB Tyler Badie
Texas A&M S Leon O’Neal
Texas A&M RB Isaiah Spiller
Penn State LB Brandon Smith
Penn State LB Ellis Brooks
Penn State WR Jahan Dotson
Penn State S Jaquan Brisker
Ohio State WR Chris Olave
Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson
Ohio State OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
Ohio State DT Haskell Garrett
UTSA RB Sincere McCormick
Mississippi State OT Charles Cross
Iowa State RB Breece Hall
So far, there have been several key players who’ve announced they’ll skip their bowl games and prepare for the NFL Draft instead.
Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, considered a potential No. 1 overall pick, announced on Instagram on Dec. 6 that he will forgo the Ducks’ trip to the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 against No. 16 Oklahoma, and instead begin to prepare for the NFL Draft.
Updated list of college football stars skipping bowl games for …
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