Clemson's Dodd opts to try his fortune in NFL

By John Clayton, Staff Reporter
Published on Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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Clemson's Dodd opts to try his fortune in NFL
• Dodd anchors stingy defense

Just hours after the Clemson football team touched down at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, former Riverside standout Kevin Dodd announced his departure.

Dodd, a redshirt junior defensive end who starred in Monday's 45-40 loss to Alabama in the National Championship game, released a statement Wednesday through Element Sports Group detailing his decision to forego his final year of eligibility at Clemson and enter the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft.

The statement reads:

“After speaking with my family, I have decided to apply for early entry into the 2016 NFL Draft. Leaving Clemson is an extremely tough decision, but I truly feel like I am physically and mentally ready for the next challenge. We had an amazing season. I am so proud of what we accomplished, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to play football here at Clemson. Thank you to my coaches, especially Coach Swinney, Coach Venables and Coach Hobby for all they have done for me. Thank you to my teammates and all of the academic and athletic staff here at Clemson as well. I will be staying in Clemson this Spring in order to complete my degree and graduate this coming May. Clemson Football has given me opportunities I never thought were possible. I am so proud to be a Tiger and will always be a Tiger! Clemson is truly a special place -- thank you for everything. #AllIn”

Dodd 's NFL draft stock could be at an all-time high after he sacked Alabama quarterback Jake Coker three times during the national title game and turning in a dominant performance in a semifinal Orange Bowl win over Oklahoma.

The title game was the culmination of a breakout season for the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Dodd, who completed his first season as a full-time starter. His 12 sacks were second on the team behind Shaq Lawson's 12.5 sacks.

Dodd, who was a three-star recruit ranked as the state's 17th-best prospect as a senior at Riverside, also recorded 62 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss for 99 yards, six quarterback hurries, a blocked kick along with a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.

NFL Draft pundits have called both Dodd and Lawson "pro-ready pass rushers."

Dodd reportedly asked for an NFL Draft evaluation from the NFL in December.

One NFL Draft website projects Dodd to be a top-50 selection in April's NFL Draft, which means Dodd is projected to be drafted by the middle of the second round at the latest.





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