Clemson DE Shaq Lawson announces he will enter the 2016 NFL draft

0:55 | College Football
Clemson DE Shaq Lawson to declare for 2016 NFL draft
Wednesday December 9th, 2015

Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson announced Tuesday he will enter the 2016 NFL draft, according to Fox 26 Houston.

Lawson is a junior, but will forgo his final year of college eligibility in the hopes of joining a professional team.

He joins Clemson junior defensive back Jayron Kearse, who has also indicated he is considering early entry into the draft. The deadline for early declaration is Jan. 18.

“I sat down with my family, sat down with the support staff at Clemson. I enjoyed being at Clemson, but it’s time,” Lawson said. “I’m ready for the next level.”

Michigan TE Jake Butt to return for his senior season

Lawson, who is listed at 6'3", 270 pounds, is Clemson’s leader in sacks, with 9.5, and leads the nation in tackles for loss with 22. He was a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, which honors the nation’s top defensive player and was won by Temple’s Tyler Matakevich on Monday. He is also a finalist for the Lombardi Award, which will be given to the nation’s top lineman on Wednesday.

Lawson and the Tigers will face No. 4 Oklahoma on Dec. 31 in the College Football Playoff semifinal Orange Bowl.

- Erin Flynn

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