CLEMSON FOOTBALL

A.J. Terrell put himself on the map in January's national championship with a pick-six that put Alabama on its heels early.
A.J. Terrell put himself on the map in January's national championship with a pick-six that put Alabama on its heels early.

Four Tigers make early 2-round mock draft


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A lot will change in NFL draft projections over the next 10 months but four Tigers are currently among the top prospects according to USA TODAY.

All four are rising juniors with ACC player of the year Travis Etienne leading the group as a top-20 selection (18).

After averaging 8.1 yards per carry last season, he goes into the 2019 year first in school history in career yards per carry (7.8, minimum 1,000 yards) and career points per game (8.4), third in career rushing touchdowns (37), fourth in total career touchdowns (39), 11th in career points (234) and 12th in career rushing yards (2,424) after setting single-season school records in 2018 in rushing yards (1,658), yards per carry (8.1), rushing touchdowns (24), total touchdowns (26) and points scored (156)

Also in the first-round picks is linebacker Isaiah Simmons, at No. 21. Simmons posted a team-high 97 tackles (9.5 for loss), seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks and one interception (pick-six) in 790 snaps over 15 games (14 starts) last season. He is regarded as a preseason All-American by Phil Steele (first-teaam) and Athlon (second-team).

Wide receiver Tee Higgins is regarded as a selection just outside the first round (33). Higgins led the team in receptions (59) and receiving touchdowns (12), gaining 936 yards in 550 snaps in 15 games (all starts) last season, drawing All-ACC honors and is regarded as a second-team preseason All-American by Phil Steele and Athlon.

Cornerback AJ Terrell also cracked the top-50 prospects (44). Terrell posted a third-team All-ACC campaign in his first season as a starter, tallying seven pass breakups and three interceptions - including a pick-six in the national championship win over Alabama.

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