In recent years, Clemson has been hurt by players making the wrong decision and leaving for the NFL Draft too early. It has happened since Tommy Bowden was named head coach. Before Bowden coached his first game, he lost Rahim Abdullah and Corey Hulsey to the NFL.
Hulsey has been able to stick around the league after bouncing around a few rosters, but Abdullah was out of the league in less than three years. After the 2001 Gator Bowl, junior linebacker Keith Adams declared for the NFL Draft. Due to a lack of size, Adams would not have likely improved much on his seventh round draft status, so his move was not as questioned. Adams much like Hulsey bounced around, but now he is a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Most recently, Derrick Hamilton and Donnell Washington declared for the NFL Draft. Both were third round choices in the April 2004 draft, but neither have seen much playing time and would have benefited from another year. Hamilton left in a year where the draft was loaded with receivers, and had he waited a year, he likely would have been a first round pick.
This year Clemson junior defensive end Gaines Adams petitioned the NFL. Adams had stated a week before he petitioned the league that he intended to return to Clemson. Adams will likely project as a day one draft pick, but Adams remains set on his intentions to return to school.
“I am most definitely coming back to school. I petitioned the advisory board, so I would know what I needed to improve on in my senior season,” said Adams following the team’s first bowl preparation.
Coach Bowden praised how Adams was handling the situation, stating he was being very wise in his decision making.
Adams is eager to get ready for the bowl game and send the Tigers into the 2006 with momentum. However, Adams had to reiterate again to the media on Saturday that he intended to return to Clemson.
“I am 99.9% sure I am coming back. I just wanted to know what I needed to improve on.”
Fellow junior Anthony Waters did not petition the NFL Draft advisory board, and he intends to return for his senior season as well. Adams and Waters have laid the foundation for what could be Coach Bowden’s best defense in his tenure at Clemson.