Slew of Clemson starters declare for NFL Draft
The ‘Wayne Train’ will make another run at Clemson next season, but he will be doing so without teammates Mackensie Alexander, Kevin Dodd, T.J. Green and Jayron Kearse, who declared for the 2016 NFL Draft on Wednesday.
The four starters join All-American defensive end Shaq Lawson in forgoing the remainder of their college eligibility for the pros.
Dodd issued a statement through his new representatives, Element Sports Group. Alexander, Kearse and Green posted messages on Intstagram about their decisions. Lawson said last month that he wouldn't be returning to school.
Wayne Gallman, a redshirt sophomore All-ACC first-team running back, tweeted his intentions to return to Clemson next season, quelling speculation that the record-breaking rusher would head to the NFL.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Gallman was magnificent this year as he rushed for a school single-season record 1,527 yards and 13 touchdowns to help the Tigers win an ACC crown and earn a trip to the College Football Playoff National Championship game.
While the Clemson offense got good news on Wednesday, the defense wasn’t as fortunate. Heading into next season, the Tigers will now have to find a way to replace defensive ends Lawson and Dodd, safeties Kearse and Green, and cornerback Alexander.
Lawson, the ACC defensive player of the year, and Dodd were a force up front as the two combined for 24.5 sacks and whopping 49 tackles for a loss this season.
#Clemson DL Kevin Dodd is skipping his SR season & entering the NFL Draft. Guy was a monster in Playoff. Had 9 TFLs & 5 sacks last 3 games.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 13, 2016
Alexander, a redshirt sophomore, was a first-team All-ACC selection, while Kearse, a junior, made the second team. Kearse's 62 tackles tied Dodd for fourth-most on the team.
Green might not have received the accolades his high profile teammates did but he was equally important, ranking second on the team in tackles with 92.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.