Some thought Jackson Carman should have come back to Clemson for one more season.
Jackson Carman was not one of them. The former Clemson left tackle felt he was ready to make the jump to the NFL, even though he suffered a back injury during the season that slowed him down.
However, Carman’s belief in himself earned him an opportunity Friday night as the Cincinnati Bengals picked him No. 46 overall in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
With Carman headed to Cincinnati, it means he will reunite with his former Clemson teammate and current Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. He is also headed back to his home state of Ohio. He is from Fairfield, Ohio.
“Me and my support team and the people around me just really felt like I had a good season and that I was ready, not only physically, for the NFL but just mentally and maturity wise,” Carman said recently. “This was a great opportunity for me and a challenge that I’ve been dreaming of since literally a little kid. So, just the opportunity that I have right now to just be able to go chase my dreams and do it at full speed is something I’m excited and ready for.”
Carman played in 40 games across his three seasons at Clemson from 2018-20, starting each of the last 27 games of his career, and helped lead the Tigers to ACC titles and College Football Playoff appearances in all three campaigns.
A second-team All-American in 2020 according to CBS Sports, and a second-team All-ACC honoree who was also named second-team all-conference by the AP, Carman was satisfied with his individual performance last season.
Carman’s only regret was he didn’t finish off his career with a second national championship, something he believed the Tigers had the potential to accomplish before being knocked off by Ohio State in the CFP semifinal at the Sugar Bowl.
“As far as this past season, I felt like I had a great season,” Carman said. “It was definitely a special season just considering everything that we went through as a team, and really just being able to grow through all the adversity. And my play, I felt like was a bright spot for me. I felt like I played well, and honestly I just wish that we could have finished together all the way to the end. I felt like we had the capability to do that, and that was probably the only lowlight for me for the season.”
Carman, who can take solace in the fact that he did win a national title with Clemson in 2018, opted not to participate in any on-field testing at the Tigers’ Pro Day on Thursday and will instead hold an on-campus workout April 15.
“For me, the reason I didn’t work out (Thursday) is because I was just dealing with a lot of different things like coming off the end of the season,” he said. “But for me, I feel better prepared and I’m excited to have my own Pro Day in April. I’m really looking forward to that, being able to perform.”
–Gavin Oliver contributed to this story