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College football notebook: Clemson’s Simmons entering NFL draft

2 min read

FILE PHOTO: NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons announced Saturday that he plans to skip his senior season and enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

“Take a chance, because you never know how perfect something can turn out,” Simmons wrote on Twitter, leading into a lengthy post.

The Tigers’ leading tackler the past two seasons is expected to be chosen among the top 10 picks, projecting as a versatile linebacker-safety hybrid.

A redshirt junior, Simmons finished the 2019 season with 102 tackles (16 for loss), eight sacks and three interceptions, earning the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. He totaled 236 tackles (28 for loss), 10 sacks and four interceptions during his Clemson career.

–Clemson junior defensive tackle Xavier Kelly has entered the NCAA transfer portal.

He appeared in 10 games for the national championship runner-up Tigers in 2019, tallying six tackles, a half-sack, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Kelly, who registered 26 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 28 games with the Tigers, will be eligible to play his final season in 2020 as a graduate transfer.

–LSU and members of its national championship team are “unlikely” to face penalties from the NCAA stemming from players apparently accepting cash from Odell Beckham Jr. following the Tigers’ 42-25 win over Clemson, according to a report by CBS Sports.

The LSU football program has been under extra scrutiny this week following its win Monday night in New Orleans, where Cleveland Browns and former LSU wide receiver Beckham was seen handing out cash to LSU players on the field of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

CBS Sports cited two compliance experts, who noted that any junior or senior headed to the NFL draft would likely not be impacted, while underclassmen would be required to pay back the money to avoid suspension.

–Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, fresh off LSU’s national championship win, will skip playing in next week’s Senior Bowl, confirmed Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy.

“Had a great talk with @LSUfootball QB Joe Burrow last night and he decided to forgo the @seniorbowl to spend time with family,” wrote Nagy in a social media post. “Our staff completely respects his decision and wish Joe nothing but the best. Some NFL team and city are getting a special player, person, and leader.”

Burrow reportedly was considering playing in the all-star college football exhibition game, set for Saturday in Mobile, Ala., given that the Cincinnati Bengals are set to coach the South team in the game. The Bengals hold the first pick in April’s NFL draft and Burrow is expected to go No. 1.

–Wisconsin wide receiver Aron Cruickshank announced he is transferring to Rutgers.

A 5-foot-9 sophomore, Cruickshank played in all 14 games for the Badgers in 2019.

He rushed 13 times for 139 yards and one touchdown, caught three passes for 29 yards and returned 23 kickoffs for 674 yards and two scores in 2019. Cruickshank returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter of Wisconsin’s 28-27 loss to Oregon in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

–Field Level Media

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