The Clemson Tigers fell short of claiming the 2015 national championship, and now the team will be forced to reload for next season. As part of the rebuilding process, head coach Dabo Swinney will have a number of big holes to fill thanks thanks to multiple underclassmen declaring for the 2016 NFL Draft.
The latest Clemson star to make the leap to the pros is defensive back Jayron Kearse.
Kearse took to social media on Wednesday afternoon to officially declare for the draft. He released a lengthy statement on Instagram.
“First off I would like to thank Clemson University for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something very special this season. Coming to Clemson was the best decision I’ve made in my young career and it has been a great 3 year experience and couldn’t have chosen a better university to be apart of,” he wrote.
“I will also like to thank the fans of #TigerNation for all their wonderful support towards me and this team this year, the support staff here at Clemson whose always had my back through good and bad times it has meant so much to me to be able to call Clemson my home. Finally, I would like to thank Coach Swinney, Coach Reed, and Coach Venables for believing in me and giving me the chance to be apart of such exceptional defenses the past 2 years.
“I’m thankful for everything I’ve been given the opportunity to achieve here, but after sitting down and talking to support staff and my family I think it’s in my best interest to take the next step in my career and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft. I think the NFL is what I need to take my game to the next level and that’s why I ultimately made the decision I’ve made. It’s been great and I’ll always be a Tiger and forever be grateful for this wonderful gift of me being able to be apart of Clemson University.”
Kearse is widely regarded as a top five safety in this year’s draft class and should hear his name called within the first three rounds of the 2016 draft.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports