• 55°

Only half of Clemson D linemen work out for NFL on pro day

College football roundup

Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence runs drills during NFL Pro Day Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

By Pete Iacobelli

AP Sports Writer

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Half of Clemson’s talented defensive front four participated in the Tigers pro day Thursday before evaluators from all 32 NFL teams.

While defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant did not take part in drills due to injuries, tackles Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence showcased the abilities that have them on track to be first-round NFL draft picks next month. The linemen, nicknamed the Power Rangers after the popular children’s heroes, met NFL officials, including three head AFC coaches: Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel and Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor.

The four linemen, all part of Clemson’s two national titles the past three seasons, wore different color headbands during the session that synched up their favorite Mighty Morphin heroes.

“That was the last time back in the action. Last time we get to morph together,” said Wilkins, the 6-foot-3, 315-pound All-American. “We had to go out with a bang.”

The final bang should come next month when at least three and possibly all four could get selected in the opening round of the NFL draft.

“I don’t know if that’s ever happened,” said Ferrell, the All-American who had 11.5 sacks during Clemson’s national title run this season.

The four were part of a larger group of draft-eligible players who worked out in front of NFL personnel at Clemson’s indoor practice facility. Others who expect to hear their names called early in the draft April 25-27 included linebacker Tre Lamar and cornerback Trayvon Mullen, the defensive MVP of Clemson’s 44-16 victory over Alabama in the national title game in January.

The featured players for NFL personnel, though, all played up front for Clemson’s defense.

A turf toe injury Ferrell played with most of the season and that he re-aggravated this week kept him from doing much more than talking to pro scouts. Bryant, the 6-4, 271-pound senior, is also recovering from a pectoral muscle operation in January and said he planned a “mock pro day” when he got the all-clear from doctors.

Wilkins and Lawrence stood on their 40-yard dash times from the NFL combine earlier this month. They participated in cone drills and defensive workouts before speaking with several teams individually.

Bryant, Ferrell and Wilkins all considered leaving for the NFL after the 2017 season when Clemson lost in the national semifinals to Alabama. The trio, though, chose to return to give chase to one more title and helped the Tigers become major college football’s first 15-0 champions.

Ferrell is considered a top-10 pick as an edge rusher and shows up first of the four in several NFL mock drafts.

He was not worried that his pro day absence would hurt that projection. After all, Ferrell said he played with the toe problem much of the year and still finished with 20 tackles for loss.

Ferrell was most upset about missing a last chance to work alongside his teammates.

“Not being able to go out there with my guys on the field together for the last time was something that really, really hurt,” he said.

Lawrence is the 6-4, 342-pound tackle who missed Clemson’s College Football Playoff games when he was suspended after testing positive for the banned substance ostarine. Lawrence has denied using the substance. He said he will continue answering all questions from NFL teams about the situation. “Just trying to be honest, because they know everything anyway,” Lawrence said.

Wilkins is focusing on showing pro teams he’ll be an asset on and off the field.

“I’ve done pretty good here, but it’s all about what’s ahead,” he said. “You’ve got to show you can be consistent and dependable and be great at the next level.”

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Comments

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges

Local

Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs