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Quarterback Deshaun Watson, Linebacker Jabrill Peppers Declare For NFL Draft

USA Today

Fresh off an exciting college football season and one of the greatest National Championship games of all-time, two of the league’s top players have declared their intentions to go pro. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers have declared for the NFL Draft. 

Watson made his decision to leave Clemson shortly after a virtuoso performance in the title game against Alabama, passing for 420 yards and 3 touchdowns, the last of which was a completion in the final second of the game to clinch the victory. Watson ended his Clemson career on the highest of notes and will be remembered as one of the most successful college quarterbacks ever. During his three seasons at Clemson, Watson went a remarkable 38-5 as starting quarterback, leading his team to four bowl game victories. He finished this past season as a Heisman Trophy finalist for the second season in a row after throwing for 4593 yards and 41 touchdowns on 67% completion. Heading into the game on Monday, numerous draft experts had had Watson projected as the third-best quarterback in this year’s draft, behind UNC’s Mitch Trubisky and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. After a historic performance, it is likely that Watson cemented his spot in the 1st round, possibly into the top 10. 

While Watson’s season ending could be described as a fairy tale, Jabrill Peppers final game appearance at Michigan was the complete opposite. Following a highly successful season that included 3 Big Ten awards and a Heisman finalist slot, Peppers was forced to sit out Michigan’s final game in the Orange Bowl against Florida State after suffering a hamstring injury prior to the game. After the Wolverines defeat, Peppers was in tears when speaking to reporters, heartbroken about the fact that he was unable to play what many expected to be his final college game.

Peppers is one of the most versatile players to enter the NFL Draft in recent years. At various points in the season, Peppers performed as a linebacker, safety, running back, and kick/punt returner to incredible success. Peppers is widely projected to be selected with one of the first five picks in this year’s draft after finishing the season with 72 tackles, 570 total return yards, and 167 rushing yards alongside 3 touchdowns. 

Other players who have announced over the weekend that they are entering the draft include North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky and Wisconsin offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk

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