When Bashaud Breeland announced he was entering the NFL draft, it raised more than a few eyebrows.
By all accounts, he had a stellar junior campaign among the ACC's leaders in picks (4) and pass breakups (10), adding 56 tackles. However, he's rated as the No. 15 cornerback prospect by CBSSports.com, which pegs him as a third or fourth round pick at best currently.
The Allendale native is confident he's better than that.
"I just want the scouts to give me a fair evaluation. I feel like I can be a top 10 cornerback or higher in this years draft," Breeland told NewEraScouting.com. "I am going to work as hard as I can to prove that to everyone and I hope the NFL will see that."
Why not wait a year to get more on the radar? Breeland, who has a young daughter, says taking care of family was a factor, but he also feels he has the skills to make that next step.
"I have some family issues that factored into my decision to leave early," Breeland said. "I gained as much information as possible and thought long and hard about my decision. The biggest reason I declared was because I felt I was ready. I have been preparing hard and feel I stack up well compared to the other top cornerbacks in this year’s draft.
"I am ready for the challenge of testing my talent at the highest level of competition."
Breeland's four interceptions this season and six career all came against ACC competition. He posted a career-high 10 tackles in the Tigers' 59-10 win at Virginia earlier this season.
By the move, Clemson loses both starting corners, though they return starting experience from Martin Jenkins (rising senior) and plenty of snaps from Garry Peters (rising senior). The Tigers also have three with starting experience for two safety spots with Robert Smith (rising senior), Jayron Kearse (rising sophomore) and Travis Blanks (rising junior) and freshman five-star DB Mackensie Alexander coming off a redshirt.