Clemson offensive tackle Isaiah Battle will forgo his senior season and enter next month’s NFL Supplemental Draft, Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney announced Thursday.
Battle has been in and out of trouble throughout his career at Clemson, twice serving suspensions for disciplinary reasons since 2013.
“I have some family matters to address, with a child due this summer, and I feel it is in my best interest to enter the NFL Supplemental Draft,” Battle said. “I want to thank everyone at Clemson, especially Coach Swinney and the assistant coaches, for what they have done for me the last three years. I also want to thank my teammates. They have all had a big impact on my career.”
No player on the Tigers’ returning roster played in more snaps (824) than Battle a season ago. Battle played in 27 games for the Tigers over the past three seasons, starting 16 times. Eleven of the starts came last season. He started four games in 2013 and played in five games as a freshman in 2012. Battle came off the bench to play 73 snaps when Gifford Timothy was injured early against LSU in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl, helping the Tigers to a 25-24 win.
“We appreciate all that Isaiah has done for the program the last three years,” Swinney said. “He has made great progress in his development and has been a big contributor to our success the last three years, especially in each of the last three bowl games when he had outstanding games against very talented defensive lines from LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma. We wish him well in his pursuit of a professional career.”
Swinney said Battle’s departure will open an opportunity for true freshman Mitch Hyatt, a five-star recruit out of Suwanee, Ga. Clemson has not started a true freshman on the offensive line since 2004 when former Wando High School star Barry Richardson started seven games.
“This will create a great opportunity for Mitch as a true freshman,” Swinney said. “We liked what we saw from Mitch in the spring, and look forward to seeing his progress in August. We have other young offensive linemen who will also have a new opportunity for playing time.”
NFL teams that pick a player in the supplemental draft forfeit their pick in the corresponding round of the following year’s NFL Draft. If a player goes unselected, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The last time a player was taken in the supplemental draft was 2012 when the Cleveland Browns used a second-round choice on Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon.