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Clemson cornerback to forego senior season, declare for 2020 NFL Draft

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A.J. Terrell makes a tackle during Clemson's loss to LSU in the College Football Playoff national championship game at the Superdome in New Orleans on Jan. 13. Andrew J. Whitaker/ Staff

CLEMSON — A.J. Terrell has played his last game for Clemson.

The junior cornerback announced Friday evening on Twitter he will forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft. Terrell projects as a late first-round or early second-round selection.

"To my teammates, from the day I arrived on campus, I gained a new set of brothers," Terrell wrote. "We've battled through every triumph and adversity this game could throw at us. And, through it all, we built unshakable faith and trust in each other."

Terrell, a first-team All-ACC selection, finished with 34 tackles, two interceptions and three pass breakups this season, though he struggled in Clemson's loss to LSU on Monday in the College Football Playoff national championship, getting beaten by wide receiver Ja-Marr Chase for a pair of touchdowns.

The Atlanta, Ga., native was otherwise among the most feared members of Clemson's record-setting defense. The Tigers held all 12 of their regular season opponents this season to fewer than 300 yards.

Last season, he set the tone in Clemson's win over Alabama in the national championship by returning an interception for a touchdown in the first quarter.

His departure means Clemson will start next season with sophomore Derion Kendrick as the team's primary corner. Sophomore Mario Goodrich and freshman Sheridan Jones could be in line to start opposite Kendrick.

Earlier on Friday, running back Travis Etienne announced he'll stay at Clemson for his senior season. Wide receiver Tee Higgins announced Wednesday he'll be entering the NFL draft. 

Follow Joshua Needelman on Twitter at @joshneedelman.

Joshua Needelman covers Clemson for The Post and Courier. He's a Long Island, N.Y., native and a University of Maryland graduate.

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