NFL Combine offers confirmation for some, opportunity for others

Six Tigers will participate in NFL-sanctioned workouts, led by All-Americans Dwayne Allen, Andre Branch

Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen (83) catches a touchdown pass in the third quarter from Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) in the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen (83) catches a touchdown pass in the third quarter from Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) in the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

Six members of Clemson's ACC championship football team will take their first step through the NFL’s doorway this week when they participate in the 2012 NFL Combine at Indianapolis, IN.

The workouts and various physical tests will be held Feb. 22-28 at Lucas Oil Stadium, with all NFL teams attending.

Tigers who received invitations include Dwayne Allen, a first-team consensus All-America tight end, Andre Branch, a second-team All-America defensive end, Antoine McClain, a three-year starter at offensive guard, starting defensive tackle Rennie Moore, starting cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, and Brandon Thompson, second-team All-ACC defensive tackle.

Allen, who declared for the NFL draft after winning the John Mackey Award as a junior, is projected to be among the first tight ends selected, while Branch and Thompson have also been ranked among the top 50 players overall for the draft, which will be held April 26-28 in New York.

While Allen, Branch and Thompson will be looking to solidify their standing, the Combine will provide an opportunity for Moore, Sensabaugh and McClain to show that they’re physically capable of being productive NFL players, as well.

In addition to the NFL Combine, Clemson will be holding its own on-campus ‘Pro Day’ on March 8.

Currently, NFL Network’s Mike Maycock has both Allen and Branch ranked No. 3 at their positions – Allen behind Georgia’s Orson Charles and Stanford’s Coby Fleener, both of whom are considered to have an edge in pure speed, and Branch behind South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram and North Carolina’s Quinton Coples.

Thompson is ranked as the No. 5 defensive tackle, behind Michael Brockers of LSU, Jerel Worthy of Michigan State, Dontari Poe of Memphis and Devin Still of Penn State.

Other ACC players ranked among the best at their positions include David Wilson of Virginia Tech and Lamar Miller of Miami, who are ranked as the No. 2 and 3 running backs, and Boston College’s Luke Kuechly and Miami’s Sean Spence, who are ranked No. 2 and 5, respectively, among linebackers.

Clemson ranks in a tie for 12th among schools sending players to the NFL Combine this year. Alabama has the most with nine, while Georgia, Wisconsin, Miami (FL) and LSU have eight apiece. Boise State, Iowa, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State and Southern Cal will have seven apiece.

Clemson, Arizona State, California, Florida State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, South Carolina, Stanford and Texas A&M all will have six representatives.

Clemson had six players drafted last season and has had 15 selected over the last three years. Fourteen of the 15 Clemson players drafted over the last three seasons have been active with an NFL team. The lone exception is defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins, who was contending for a starting position as a rookie with the Washington Redskins before suffering a torn ACL during a preseason game.

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