Junior Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson will leave early and enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
Lawson told a Houston TV station that it was a “tough decision,” but the nation’s leader in tackles for loss (22.5) will declare for the NFL draft.
Lawson is in Houston for the Lombardi Award ceremony.
“I sat down with my family, sat down with the support staff at Clemson,” Lawson told the TV station. “I enjoyed being at Clemson, but it’s time. I’m ready for the next level.”
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The Daniel High product said his plan was to work his way into a position to declare this season.
“I will always miss Clemson, thank them for everything they’ve done for me. I really enjoyed it,” Lawson said.
CBSSports.com has him listed as the No. 3 DE in the 2016 NFL draft (ranked No. 21 overall).
Lawson, who made USA Today's first-team All-America Tuesday, is up for the Lombardi Award along with Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett and Penn State’s Carl Nassib.