Clemson WR Martavis Bryant tells Post and Courier he will enter NFL draft

  • Posted: Sunday, January 5, 2014 12:33 p.m., Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014 9:23 p.m.
Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant (1) makes a catch for a touchdown as Ohio State cornerback Armani Reeves defends during the first half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Martavis Bryant told The Post and Courier on Sunday afternoon that he will forego his senior season at Clemson, declaring for the NFL draft.

In Bryant's text message, the junior wide receiver wrote, "I have decided to enter the draft, it's best for me and my family."

Bryant (6-5, 200 pounds) caught 42 balls for 828 yards and seven touchdowns his junior year, flashing his blazing speed in the open field along with a tough matchup on fade routes in the end zone.

He is projected as a late-round selection or free agent, but he elevated his profile with outstanding performances at North Carolina State (six receptions, 73 yards, two touchdowns), against Georgia Tech (five receptions, 176 yards, one TD) and Friday in the 40-35 Orange Bowl victory over Ohio State (three receptions, 28 yards, two red-zone TDs), all games in primetime under the lights.

Bryant was under academic suspension for the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl, negatively capping a sophomore campaign when he had just 10 grabs, but his 30.5 yards per catch led all Division I players with double-digit receptions.

Back in August, as coaches lavished praise on him for his turned-around attitude, Bryant said "my kids, my family" drove him to have a breakout junior season. Bryant has two young daughters, detailed in a September story by The Post and Courier.

In 2013, Bryant averaged 19.7 yards a catch in a greatly expanded role, ranking ninth in the country among all qualified receivers. He leaves behind a pass-happy attack that will be transitioning to a new quarterback and life after Tajh Boyd.

Bryant is one of at least three Clemson defections from the junior class, along with fellow receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who were each reported separately this weekend to be departing for the NFL. Defensive end Vic Beasley and linebacker Stephone Anthony are still pondering their future.

Junior Adam Humphries and freshmen Mike Williams, Germone Hopper and T.J. Green are expected to fill the Tigers' void at wide receiver in 2014. So will junior Charone Peake, who took a medical redshirt when he tore his ACL in practice Sept. 12.

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