The deadline to enter the 2022 NFL draft for college football's underclassmen is Jan. 17, and there are decisions looming for several Clemson Tigers.
Last week, receiver Justyn Ross made it official by entering the draft and saying goodbye to Clemson.
Cornerback Mario Goodrich left the Tiger program after four years, even though he had an extra year remaining, and is going to participate in the Senior Bowl.
Defensive end K.J. Henry announced he's returning to Clemson for another year. So is offensive tackle Jordan McFadden, who made his announcement Saturday.
Sunday night, cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., a projected first-round selection, entered the NFL draft.
There are other Tigers who haven't made public their intentions known to file declaration papers by the deadline or return to college for another season.
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Any player from the 2019 class or later is eligible, whether or not they opted out of 2020 for COVID-19 reasons or not.
Here's a look at a few Clemson players to keep an eye on this week:
Xavier Thomas: The senior defensive end surprised some folks when he came back to Clemson in 2021. After all, the former 5-star, big-time prospect had not quite lived up to his recruiting rankings after three years on the field, but Thomas set a career-high with 4.5 sacks this past season. He also added 6.5 tackles for a loss, and Thomas feels like he was more productive than stats even indicate. He spent a lot of time in the opponent's backfield. However, his draft stock still isn't super high in a year of some really good edge rushers. Thomas is likely more of a third-round or later selection, so he's might have a difficult decision to make.
Tyler Davis: Much of the speculation surrounding the big defensive tackles is that Davis will be back at Clemson. The junior began the season as a potential first-round pick, but he missed five games with an arm injury and could greatly help his NFL stock if he could play a full season, something he hasn't done since his freshman year. Davis had 23 total tackles and 2.5 for a loss. His return would be huge for a Clemson defense that's losing some veteran senior leadership.
Joseph Ngata: In the preseason, the junior receiver popped up on several mock drafts because of his size and potential, but 2021 came and passed with Ngata not being able to reach his ceiling. His season wasn't a total bust in an offense that struggled to pass. He did have 438 yards and one touchdown on 23 catches (19 yards per reception is a career-high), but it was far from a breakout performance. Another season of struggling to stay healthy for Ngata likely means another season in college.
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