Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen declares for NFL draft

Dwayne Allen

CLEMSON — The New Year has not been kind to Clemson.

Two days after an embarrassing 70-33 defeat to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, Clemson was dealt another loss as star tight end Dwayne Allen declared for the NFL draft Friday evening.

Allen’s decision was not a surprise, as the junior tight end is projected as a top 50 overall pick in April’s draft. Allen set single-season Clemson records for a tight end with 50 catches for 598 yards and eight touchdowns this fall to earn the Mackey Award, which is presented to the nation’s top tight end.

Allen thanked his coaches and teammates in a statement Friday night.

“I am basically turning professional because I feel I am ready,” said Allen, who was named to various All-American teams this season. “This is the appropriate time. I have matured as a player and a person over the last four years at Clemson, and this experience has prepared me for the next level.”

The Fayetteville, N.C., native finishes his college career with 93 receptions for 1,079 yards and 12 touchdowns. His receptions and touchdowns tie the Clemson career marks for a tight end. John McMakin (1969-71) also had 93 receptions and 12 touchdowns.

With Allen departing, Brandon Ford is now the favorite to start at tight end next season for Clemson.

Running back Andre Ellington is exploring his draft projection.

The former Berkeley High star might consider foregoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft.