Tigers' Sammy Watkins going pro

ByESPN.com news services
January 06, 2014, 2:20 PM

— -- Clemson wide receiver  Sammy Watkins will pass up his senior season and enter this year's NFL draft.

The Tigers will also lose receiver  Martavis Bryant and defensive back  Bashaud Breeland to the draft, they told ESPN's Joe Schad.

Scouts Inc. rates Watkins as the highest-rated wide receiver and No. 4 player overall available. ESPN analyst Todd McShay projected him as the 13th overall selection in his mock draft.

"I am very thankful for the past three years at Clemson University that have enabled me to grow academically, athletically, and spiritually," Watkins said in a statement released by the school. "After much prayerful consideration, I have decided to take the next step in pursuing my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL.

"I would not have this opportunity without the support and encouragement of my family, coaches, teammates, and the best fans in college football. No matter where my next steps may lead, I will always take pride in the PAW and will forever be a part of the Clemson family."

Bryant told ESPN that he and Watkins will train together in preparation for the draft.

"It's the right thing to do for my family," Bryant said.

Watkins had a record-setting night with 16 catches for 227 yards and two scores in Clemson's 40-35 victory over Ohio State in Friday night's Discover Orange Bowl. Watkins became Clemson's career receptions leader and set an Orange Bowl record for yardage. 

Watkins had 101 catches for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

Bryant also caught two touchdown passes in the Tigers' Orange Bowl victory. He finished the year with 42 catches for 828 yards and seven touchdowns.

Breeland had four interceptions this year. Late in the fourth quarter of the Orange Bowl, he sacked Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and forced a fumble on the play.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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