A pair of Clemson stars are expected to enter the 2017 NFL draft. Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney announced yesterday that quarterback Deshaun Watson and receiver Mike Williams will be honored during this weekend’s Senior Day, an indication that the two players are scheduled to graduate in December. Two other Clemson juniors, running back Wayne Gallman and wideout Artavis Scott, are also expected to graduate this winter.
“They are seniors. Those guys indicated to me back in the summer that this was going to be it for them and they were graduating in December,” Swinney said (via Matt Connolly of TheState.com). “All of those guys are planning on moving on. We definitely want to honor them while we have the opportunity. They’ve earned it.”
Watson and Williams will be of particular interest to NFL teams, as the pair of offensive weapons are both projected to be first-round picks. Watson has connected on 64.4-percent of his passes this season, throwing for 2,497 yards and 24 touchdowns through nine games. The speedy third-year player has also rushed for 370 yards and a pair of touchdowns. A recent mock draft by Rob Rang of CBSSports.com projected Watson to go third overall to the Bears.
After having appeared in only one game in 2015, Williams has bounced back nicely this season. The wideout has hauled in 52 catches for 754 yards and five
touchdowns. Rang had Williams as the second wideout off the board (behind Washington’s John Ross), going 13th to the Chargers.
The other two offensive weapons are a bit tougher to project, as Connolly predicts Gallman and Scott will go in the third and fourth round, respectively. Gallman has run for 634 yards and eight scores this season, averaging a robust 5.3 yards per carry.
“Wayne is definitely ready. He’s going to make a great, great NFL player for somebody,” Swinney said. “People have no idea what they’re getting in that guy. He is something special.”
Meanwhile, Scott has 38 catches for 329 yards and three touchdowns. The wideout led the 2015 Tigers with 93 catches for 901 yards and six touchdowns.
“This is one of the best football players we’ve had come to Clemson since I’ve been here. He is a great football player that just happens to play wide receiver,” Swinney said. “This kid is dynamite and so dependable, tough, hard to tackle, great special teams guy, fast. … He’s going to be a great pro. There’s no question he’s going to be a great player at the next level. He’s like the Swiss army knife. He’s got a lot of options.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.