Clemson University

How Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell is handling his NFL draft decision, the rest of 2018

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney previews matchup with Duke

Tigers face Blue Devils Saturday night
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Tigers face Blue Devils Saturday night

Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell is well aware that he has a decision to make soon.

The junior, who leads the Tigers with 13 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, has to choose whether or not he will return to school for his senior season or enter the 2019 NFL draft.

Ferrell is projected to be drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft, and most are assuming that he will turn pro after this season. But the Virginia native insisted earlier this week that no decision has been made.

“I still haven’t made a decision yet on if I’m coming back or not,” Ferrell said Monday, before announcing a timeline. “After the season, same thing as last year,” he said.

Ferrell, who is a redshirt junior on the field, is a senior as far as academics. He will be honored on Senior Day this weekend since he is a senior in the classroom.

Ferrell is looking forward to being recognized at the top of the hill individually on Saturday, but he also knows that there is a big game to play afterward as well.

The Tigers can clinch a perfect regular season in the ACC with a victory against Duke and can move to within two victories of reaching the College Football Playoff for the fourth consecutive year.

“Senior Day, it’s a lot of emotions. Obviously I think this is one of the biggest senior classes that we’ve had... I feel like it’s always meant for the family, because it’s a special moment for them. Parents get to see you grow up over the four years. You’re not a little boy anymore. You’re a grown man,” Ferrell said. “I’m excited I get a chance to be honored as a senior... I’m just looking forward to it and can’t wait to get out there and hopefully get our 11th win against Duke.”

While earning a win on Senior Day and moving a step closer toward reaching the College Football Playoff would be a big accomplishment, Ferrell has other goals he would like to accomplish throughout the rest of the 2018 season.

Ferrell has been a part of a national title team at Clemson and would love to win another one, whether this is his final year with the Tigers or not.

“I feel like this is the closest team since I’ve been here. We’re the most talented team by far since I’ve been here. We don’t have as much hype as the team that won it all (in 2016). The team that won it all was expected to win. We were preseason No. 1,” Ferrell said. “Obviously this year we had a little bit of ups and downs, kind of a rough start to the season. But I feel like this is the closest team we’ve had since we’ve been here. That’s made it the most fun since I’ve been here… Hopefully we can keep progressing and not take this moment for granted.”

Ferrell, who was a first-team All-American last season, has been Clemson’s best pass rusher this year but is hoping to up his game down the stretch.

“I feel like the year’s going well, but I feel like there’s another level that I can take it to,” Ferrell said. “There’s always something that I can get better at… I feel like it’s been a good year so far but it’s still a long ways you got to go.”

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