CLEMSON -- Clemson junior running back Andre Ellington has submitted paperwork to the NFL's underclassmen advisory committee to gauge where he might be selected in April's NFL draft should he forgo his senior season.
The Berkeley High product said he has not made a decision on whether he'll enter the draft.
"We are still waiting to hear back," Ellington said of the paperwork. "I'm not sure (about returning). I'm still thinking about it."
Ellington is rated as the No. 9 running back prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class by CBSSportsline.com.
Ellington rushed for 1,062 yards this season despite missing the Georgia Tech game and being limited in several other contests with an ankle injury. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he has advised Ellington to return for his senior season to improve his draft stock.
"I think he needs to come back here and I think he will," Swinney said. "I think he really needs another year. … He needs a full offseason. He missed the whole offseason (last season following foot surgery). He missed the whole spring, he really only had half a year, and he missed half the year last year. He really needs the benefit of a whole year of training. … He rushed for 1,000 yards this year and he was a part-timer. I really feel like he could be a 1,500, 1,600-(yard) type guy in this offense."
Ellington said he's still enjoying the college experience: "Even if I do take the next step in my career I'm going to miss these guys."
Watkins for Heisman?
Freshman receiver Sammy Watkins said his goals for next season include winning the Heisman Trophy.
Watkins was presented with the Banks McFadden Award Trophy after practice Saturday, awarded to the top in-state offensive player. Watkins received grief from his teammates from being presented with the large trophy.
Making the grade
Swinney said he's not expecting any academic casualties for the bowl game but said he will not receive players' final grades until Wednesday. "We expect everyone to be in good shape, but you never know until you get the final word," Swinney said.
Swinney said the team still plans on seeking a medical redshirt for freshman linebacker Tony Steward, who is out with a torn a knee ligament. A medical hardship waiver typically requires a player to have played in less than 33 percent of the team's games. Steward played in five games this season.
"It's one of those deals where we'll wait to the end of the season to apply for that," Swinney said. "But we have everything in place we need to do. "
Steward was one of five-star prospects in Clemson's 2011 signing class along with Watkins, Mike Bellamy and Stephone Anthony.
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