NFL Draft Watch 2024: Four More Clemson Stars Excited to be Drafted

Four more Clemson football stars heard their names called on day three of the 2024 NFL Draft and two of them will be teammates in the professional ranks, too.

Running back Will Shipley, linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr., and defensive linemen Xavier Thomas and Tyler Davis heard their names called and are ready to take their talents to the National Football League. In the case of Shipley and Trotter Jr., they will join forces again in Philadelphia playing for the Eagles.

The first Tiger off the board on Saturday was running back Will Shipley who was picked 127th overall in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles. Shipley, an all-purpose back, gives Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts another weapon in his arsenal for a team already among the best in the NFL. In his three-year Clemson career, Shipley rushed for 2,747 yards and 31 touchdowns, while catching 85 passes for 602 yards. Shipley earned All-ACC honors in three different positions and was a three-time ACC-All Academic honoree.

“Wherever Will Shipley got drafted, he was going to be underrated,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. “Didn’t matter if he went in the third round or the seventh round. He’s an underrated guy. I say that because he’s just one of those people that I don’t know you can really appreciate unless you get to work with him and get to see him work on a daily basis: how he practices, how he prepares, how he competes.”

Dabo Swinney

Next to be selected was defensive end Xavier Thomas. Thomas, who played six seasons for the Tigers, was a freshman All-American in 2018 and earned All-ACC honors during his Clemson career. He was selected in the fifth round at 138th overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Thomas overcame injuries and mental health struggles during his time at Clemson and has always triumphed against the odds. Now, he has a chance to play at the highest level.

As a Tiger, Thomas recorded 121 tackles in 61 games, starting 30 of those contests. He also posted an impressive 17.5 career sacks.

“Man, I’m so happy for Xavier Thomas,” beamed Swinney. “This is truly a day that a couple of years ago I wasn’t sure was ever going to happen. I’m so proud of this kid. I’m so proud of how he’s persevered and hung in there. He’s overcome so many different things, and, man, he’s one of the more confident and determined guys that I’ve seen at this point in his career.”

Dabo Swinney

The third Clemson player drafted on Saturday was linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. Trotter Jr. was a massive surprise slipping to the fifth round at 155 overall, but his selection by the Philadelphia Eagles not only reunites him with Shipley but allows his to continue the legacy started by his father, Jeremiah Trotter Sr., who was an All-Pro linebacker for the Eagles.

Many viewed Trotter Jr. as one of the top linebackers in the draft, and it is safe to say that Philadelphia got a steal. In his three-year Clemson career, Jeremiah notched 202 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, and 13 pass break-ups. He also intercepted four passes and was a multiple time All-American selection. Trotter Jr. can play at the line of scrimmage or drop into coverage which gives his needed versatility at the NFL level.

“From the day he showed up at Clemson, he was a pro,” proclaimed Swinney. “It was just a matter of him going through the process of putting his three years in and getting better. Everything he’s always done; you would already think he’s a pro. He’s wise beyond his years. He’s mature beyond his years.”

Dabo Swinney

The final Clemson Tiger to hear his name called in the NFL Draft on Saturday was defensive lineman Tyler Davis. Davis was selected in the sixth round at 196th overall by the Los Angeles Rams. Davis played five seasons at Clemson and was a stalwart along the Tigers’ defensive line. He is a player that can fortify the middle of the Rams’ defensive line and is another Clemson player that could prove to be a steal in this year’s draft.

As a Tiger, Davis was Clemson’s first four-time All-ACC selection and was named second team All-American in 2022. He racked up 144 tackles in 56 career games and recorded 29.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks.

“I’m super proud of Tyler,” stated Swinney. “I think he is a guy that from the moment he showed up at Clemson, he acted like a pro, prepared like one, trained like one. He is the ‘consummate’ team guy and eventually he will be a captain. He is a player I would put in the same mold as Grady Jarrett. He is probably a guy that got downgraded because he doesn’t have some of the measurables from a size standpoint, but when he gets on the field he will quickly separate from the others.”

Dabo Swinney

With the selections of Shipley, Thomas, Trotter Jr. and Davis, Clemson has seen six of its 10 pro prospects selected in the 2024 NFL Draft. There are four Tigers still on the board. Cornerback Sheridan Jones, safety Jalyn Phillips, defensive end Justin Mascoll, and offensive lineman Will Putnam are all still available. While some may have to sign with teams as undrafted free agents, the 2024 draft has once again showcased the talent that Clemson is able to produce.

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