The NFL Draft declaration deadline for underclassmen college football players was Monday January 15th, and it came and went with no surprises for Clemson football.
One name that was on the fringe of discussion was junior running back Phil Mafah, but the bruising ball carrier did not file paperwork to turn pro which solidifies the assumption that he would be returning to Clemson for his senior season as the undisputed RB1 of the Tigers’ offense.
Clemson has already had a collection of talented players announce they were turning pro prior to the Tigers’ Gator Bowl match-up against Kentucky. Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr., and cornerback Nate Wiggins were the two most noteworthy underclassmen to announce their intention to join the NFL, and junior running back Will Shipley declared for the draft following the bowl victory.
The Tigers were already losing defensive linemen Tyler Davis and Ruke Orhorhoro to the professional ranks, which was no surprise, and sixth-year senior graduate senior Xavier Thomas is out of collegiate eligibility. With the expected departures coming to fruition, it set up Mafah as the last remaining player who Clemson fans and coaches alike were awaiting a decision from.
Unless anyone unexpected enters their name in the transfer portal, there should be very little attrition on the Clemson roster between now and fall practice. Naturally, there could be a loss or two following spring practice, but history has shown that is usually negligible.
The 2024 Clemson football roster is quickly taking shape and will now await the arrival of summer enrollees from the 2024 recruiting class.