Clemson has several underclassmen who have decisions to make before the Jan. 15 deadline to declare for the NFL draft.
Here is a look at the players and what they are saying about the process:
DE AUSTIN BRYANT
Bryant, a junior, was exceptional in 2017 — his first year as a starter. The Georgia native started all 14 games and finished with 57 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. Bryant has a chance to be a first-round pick.
What Bryant is saying: “I have not made up my mind. I’ll take time and make the best decision for me.”
WR DEON CAIN
He had an up-and-down junior season, showing flashes of brilliance but also struggling at times with drops. Cain still led the Tigers in receiving yards with 734 and was second on the team in catches with 58. He was projected by some to be a first-round pick at one point, but his stock has fallen.
What Cain is saying: “No decision. (I’ll decide) in the next couple of weeks or so.”
DE CLELIN FERRELL
The redshirt sophomorerecorded 65 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He led the Tigers in tackles for loss and sacks. The Virginia native is projected to be a first-round pick.
What Ferrell is saying: “After the season, I’ll sit down and have a talk with my family, coaches, things like that. We’ll get a decision made.”
CB MARK FIELDS
Fields is a junior who started four of Clemson’s first six games before being sidelined with a foot injury. He finished the season with 20 tackles, three tackles for loss and two pass breakups. Fields is unlikely to be a high draft pick but could be ready to begin his pro career.
What Fields is saying: “I haven’t made a decision yet. I’m still thinking about it. I’ve just got to talk it over with my family, the people that have been around. When I make this decision I’m just really gonna keep it in my circle and go from there”
OT MITCH HYATT
The junior was considered to be a lock first-round pick earlier in his career, but that might not be the case anymore. Hyatt had a solid season but also had some struggles against a good group of pass rushers in the ACC.
What Hyatt is saying: He said he will take his time to think about his future.
LB KENDALL JOSEPH
Joseph is a redshirt junior who has already graduated college and could opt to turn pro. The fact that he already has his degree could factor into his decision, although Joseph is likely not a high draft pick. Joseph led the Tigers in tackles with 10 in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama. He also forced and recovered a fumble.
What Joseph is saying: “I haven’t decided. I’m still undecided.”
WR RAY-RAY McCLOUD
McCloud, a junior, was a weapon for Clemson in the return game and passing game. He caught 49 passes for 503 yards and averaged 12.1 yards per punt return, with a 77-yard touchdown. McCloud has improved in his three seasons at Clemson and has said getting his college degree is important to him. He could have a more featured role in 2018, particularly if Cain moves on.
What McCloud is saying: “This (Sugar Bowl) has nothing to do with whether I was going pro or not … I’m just being great where my feet are and celebrating being at the Sugar Bowl with my teammates.”
S VAN SMITH
A constant in Clemson’s banged up secondary all year, Smith finished with 62 tackles, a pass breakup and an interception. He made one of the biggest plays of the season when he picked off FSU quarterback James Blackman in the fourth quarter to preserve a win. Smith would likely be a mid-to-late round draft pick.
What Smith is saying: Leading up to the Sugar Bowl, he said he was not worrying about his draft grade until after the season.
DL CHRISTIAN WILKINS
Wilkins can play inside or outside and create havoc. The junior All-American finished the year with 55 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He is expected to be a first-round pick and could be selected in the top 10 if he decides to come out.
What Wilkins is saying: “I’m just gonna have to take some time to myself and, you know, think about that. I don’t have a decision made up in my mind right now. I’m just gonna have to sit back, do my research, and then make the right decision for me. I’ve got to get around the right people that I trust, and ultimately whatever decision I make it’s going to be my decision. I just don’t know what I’m going to do right now. I know it’s a couple of weeks or whatever before I’ve got to make the decision, but I’m definitely going to take my time because it’s a tough decision to make.”
Note: Clemson redshirt junior guard Taylor Hearn announced prior to the Sugar Bowl that he will not be returning for his senior season.