CAN PROGRAM RELOAD AS IT HAS DONE IN THE PAST?
Five members of the Clemson University football team – which narrowly lost this year’s national championship game to Alabama – have decided to forego their remaining college eligibility and enter the 2016 National Football League Draft.
Junior safety Jayron Kearse, sophomore cornerback MacKensie Alexander, junior defensive end Shaq Lawson, junior defensive end Kevin Dodd and junior safety T.J. Green all declared their intention to enter the draft this week. Meanwhile four draft-eligible Tigers – sophomore tailback Wayne Gallman, junior defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, junior tight end Jordan Leggett and junior cornerback Cordrea Tankersley – announced their intention to return to Clemson next year.
Alexander and Lawson are likely to be selected early in the first round, perhaps as top ten picks. Dodd is likely to go early in the second round.
While Clemson is losing five defensive starters, head coach Dabo Swinney‘s team has been here before. This is the same team that survived losing a pair of first round NFL draft picks last year – and still produced the No. 2 defense in the country.
Can they do it again in 2016?
Clemson’s current recruiting class is ranked No. 9 in the nation, according to 247 Sports and No. 11 according to ESPN. The Tigers’ haul includes five-star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, a 6-foot-4, 327-pound defensive tackle who is one of the five top high school players in the entire country.