Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell will face a decision on his future after this season.
Three years removed from high school, the redshirt sophomore will be eligible to declare for the 2018 NFL draft, and he is a projected first-round pick according to many pundits.
However, with three regular season games and the postseason still ahead for the Tigers, Ferrell isn’t concerned about the NFL right now. In fact, when asked about his future on Monday, Ferrell said he hasn’t even given it any thought.
“Not at all, man,” he said. “That’s not fair to my teammates or fair to myself. I’m just taking it one game at a time to be honest with you. My plan, as far as that whole thing, I plan to come back and graduate next December. That’s my plan. But obviously you do have to think about things when you are eligible for stuff like that, for the draft and stuff like that, but I haven’t thought about that at all.”
Through nine games this year, Ferrell has totaled 45 tackles, including 12.5 for loss. He also has 6.5 sacks, nine quarterback pressures and a pass breakup.
All that is on Ferrell’s mind right now is the Tigers’ 10th game of the year against Florida State on Saturday in Death Valley. Clemson’s staff preaches the importance of having a one-game mentality, treating every game like it’s the biggest of the season, and that is something Ferrell has embraced.
This weekend, the Tigers will have a chance to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division title with a win.
“Every week is another big game and another championship game, so that’s what I love about it,” Ferrell said. “We have an opportunity to accomplish our next goal, which is to win the division.”
Each year, Dabo Swinney chooses a word as a sort of mantra for the season, and the word he picked for this year is “appreciation.”
It can be easy for players to go through the motions at times throughout the course of a long, grueling campaign, so Clemson’s head coach wanted his team to appreciate every moment and opportunity that it has along the way.
“It’s his word for the year because the seasons go by so fast, so a lot of times, it’s like in the blink of an eye,” Ferrell said. “Coming off a year like last year, the biggest thing wasn’t winning the national championship — it was more so the journey and how you got there. And it went by so fast, you just look back on it and go, wow. It’s really crazy all the different things that we put into doing that, and that’s the beauty. The beauty was in the struggle and in the preparation for it.”
With the potential for Ferrell to leave Clemson early for the NFL draft, there is a possibility that Saturday’s game could be the last ACC home game that he plays in.
Ferrell isn’t looking at it that way, though. He is simply focused on the here and now, staying in the moment and appreciating it.
“That’s really what it is, just appreciating every moment you have together with this group of guys because you’re never going to have this time with this same group of guys again,” Ferrell said. “Every year the team changes, guys coming in and coming out, so that’s what it is.”