Isaiah Simmons has a chance to join Clemson history tonight


With the NFL draft just hours away, former Clemson football linebacker Isaiah Simmons will add his name to the Clemson history books.

Going all the way back to the 1939 professional football draft when Don Willis became the first Clemson football player ever be drafted, there have been just 20 defensive players chosen in the first round of the draft.

Simmons will join former linebackers, Wayne Simmons (1993), Anthony Simmons (1998), and Stephone Anthony (2015) as the only Clemson linebackers to be chosen in the first round of the NFL draft.

There is no doubt that tonight will be a special night and the culmination of a long hard-fought trip for Isaiah Simmons.

The former three-star recruit out of Olathe, Kansas had just 11 Division I football offers coming out of high school and according to 247 Sports, he never even received an offer from Kansas State. But he got the offer that changed his life and chose to come to Clemson where he was part of two national championship-winning teams.

Simmons hopes to be joined by two other Tigers tonight in the first round of the NFL Draft as both A.J. Terrell and Tee Higgins hope to hear their names called by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; both are considered fringe first-round options heading into tonight.

In case you have not seen the draft profile any of these Tigers, here is what the NFL has to say about each.

Isaiah Simmons – Grade: 7.03 – Pro Bowl Talent

"Ascending hybrid talent with rare length, speed, and versatility to create mismatches for the offense, depending upon alignment. He has a bachelor’s at three positions (slot corner, safety, linebacker) but could earn a master’s degree in complex workload with a more focused and defined job description than “jack-of-all-trades.” He can handle zone or man coverage from a variety of spots on the field, which gives defensive coordinators a chance to disguise blitz packages and exotic post-snap looks. He’ll miss run fits and can be misdirected due to a lack of instincts near the line, but his playmaking range outweighs those concerns for now. His unique potential to spy and shrink the field against dual-threat quarterbacks could push him way up the draft board."

A.J. Terrell – Grade: 6.36 – Starter within two seasons

"Long, press-man cornerback with thin lowers, but good overall size. Terrell has the foot agility and patience to pedal and mirror the release or jab and ride on it aggressively. He’s an above-average athlete with quick burst to close out space in tight quarters, but he’s not a classic click-and-close talent from off-man and issues with balance prevent sudden stops to shadow at the top of the route. The size and ability to hound 50/50 balls deserve recognition, but he lacks ballhawking traits, which could cap him as an average future starter."

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Tee Higgins – Grade: 6.37 – Starter within two seasons

"Long, angular frame with cheat-code body control and ball skills when attacking downfield. Higgins is leggy getting off of the press, but those same leggy strides are weapons of separation that help create big plays. He’s played all three receiver spots and can be moved around to match up against cornerbacks. His size and “above the rim” talent make him a uniquely dangerous playmaker deep and in the red zone. The transition to NFL press corners will be an early challenge that could take some time to solve, but he’s an instinctive ball-winner whose traits should win out and make him a very good NFL starter."