2020 NFL Draft: Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons to Declare Early
Jason B. Hirschhorn
Another coveted college prospect plans to enter the 2020 NFL Draft. On Saturday, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons announced his intentions to forgo his senior season and enter the draft as an underclassman.
"From the moment I arrived at Clemson, I was overwhelmed by the number of individuals who committed themselves to my development, both as a football player and as a man," Simmons said in a statement released by the school. "That commitment was a direct result of the culture created by Coach Dabo Swinney and Coach Brent Venables, without a doubt the best coaches in the country. I will never be able to thank them enough for placing their trust in me and honoring their pledge to mold me into an elite athlete.
"And now, it's time for me to take the next step in my journey. Today, it is with great humility and gratitude that I announce that I will be declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft. While I am incredibly excited about the opportunities and challenges that await me, please know that a part of my heart will always remain here in Clemson, South Carolina."
A former safety and wide receiver, Simmons developed into one of the most impactful linebackers in college football during his time at Clemson. His production increased each year in the program, peaking at 104 tackles (16.5 for loss), eight sacks, and three interceptions during the 2019 season. For his efforts, Simmons won ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors as well as the Dick Butkus award as the nation's top linebacker. A healthy and productive draft process will likely land Simmons in the early portion of the first found.
With the No. 6 overall pick currently in hand, the Los Angeles Chargers appear in prime position to secure Simmons. Doing so would boost a linebacking corps that struggled for stretches this past season and potentially shore up a defense that has field-tilting presences at the other two levels.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH