CLEMSON - The Palmetto State no-hitter was broken up as late as it possibly could be.
With the 100th selection of the 2014 NFL Draft - the final pick on Day 2 - San Francisco grabbed Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas, the only in-state product hearing his name called in the second or third rounds Friday with the last of the 49ers' compensatory selections.
One night after seeing their respective star bask in the limelight of Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Clemson and South Carolina were much quieter Friday, until Thomas was picked up by the 49ers.
Thomas was a consensus second-round product after completing all-ACC campaigns at left tackle his junior and senior seasons. However, he tore his ACL April 3 during a pre-draft workout with the Saints, thus throwing his draft stock into peril.
However, the 49ers didn't disregard Thomas' talent, picking up the versatile 6-3, 317-pounder after 11 p.m. Friday.
"He was a left tackle who played well (in college) and did a good job at the Senior Bowl practices," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Feb. 6. "He could play as guard, and be a great guard, a Pro Bowl guard."
Thomas figures to be placed on the "physically unable to perform" list while he rehabs his injured knee, meaning he'll be out at least the first six weeks of his rookie season. He'll join former South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore in San Francisco, which has made each of the past two NFC Championship games.
"On my top 100 board, I put Brandon Thomas at 100, thinking he could be a compensatory pick," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Friday, moments before Thomas was officially drafted. "If you watch him against (Jadeveon) Clowney (vs. South Carolina Nov. 30,) he looks like a first-round left tackle."
Multiple other players from Clemson and South Carolina were thought to have an opportunity to hear their name called sometime between picks 33 and 100.
However, South Carolina receiver Bruce Ellington and an army of Thomas' teammates go to bed one more night before discovering their NFL destination.
USC defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was picked No. 1 overall to the Texans, and Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins went fourth to the Bills, a glittering moment for each program.
However, 15 wide receivers were drafted in the first three rounds, and none included Ellington or Clemson's Martavis Bryant, who each had been projected as high as second-rounders. The factors working against those two: size (Ellington's 5-9) and lack of career reps (Bryant had just 61 catches in three years.)
Clemson cornerback Bashaud Breeland also was a potential Day 2 selection, but he will wait until Saturday for his selection. So will South Carolina cornerback Victor Hampton and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles.
The winningest quarterbacks in both programs' histories, Clemson's Tajh Boyd and South Carolina's Connor Shaw, will await potential selections Saturday as well. Only five passers have been taken - Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater in the first round, and Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo in the second - cluttering the field for Boyd and Shaw.
The fourth round begins at noon Saturday, and after the final four rounds are completed, teams will rush to begin signing undrafted free agents. In-state names to watch, if they haven't been selected, include South Carolina defensive end Chaz Sutton, Clemson tailback Roderick McDowell and Furman offensive guard Dakota Dozier among others.
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