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Van Smith Declares for the NFL Draft

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Clemson confirmed his announcement this afternoon

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Miami Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Junior safety Van Smith announced via twitter today his plans to forgo his senior season at Clemson and enter the NFL Draft. He becomes the third Clemson player to do so this season, following OL Taylor Hearn and WR Ray-Ray McCloud.

Smith’s announcement, while not totally expected, is not totally shocking as he’s been a solid starting safety for the past two years. He’s been known to give up the occasional big play or make bad decisions, but he’s also quite adept at coming up big when it’s needed most.

In 2015, he made a name for himself while coming off the bench (He wasn’t even listed on the two-deep) during the 58-0 shelling of Miami. In that game he led the team in tackles and even returned a pick 33 yards.

Other notable moments in his career include being the man that in 2016 was blocked illegally by an FSU player on what would’ve been a long TD run by Dalvin Cook and running faster than I thought any human could in order to break up an Alabama flea-flicker:

ESPN

Smith is currently rated as the #4 FS in the draft, you should expect to be picked on day 2 or day 3 of the NFL Draft (barring a standout combine I’d probably guess day 3 is more likely).

Looking Ahead

The good news for Clemson is that this opens up another scholarship for us to use on a recruit or transfer that we thought would be taken by Smith. Here’s how the departing scholarships look as of Smith’s announcement:

Updated 2018 Scholarship Breakdown

# Departing Seniors # Stated Transfers # Stated Early Departures # Other Open Scholarships # Potential Early Departures # Potential Transfers
# Departing Seniors # Stated Transfers # Stated Early Departures # Other Open Scholarships # Potential Early Departures # Potential Transfers
1 DJ Greenlee 7 Amir Trapp 8 Taylor Hearn 11 Kaleb Bevelle 14 Clelin Ferrell 19 QB
2 Maverick Morris 9 Ray-Ray McCloud 12 Kelby Bevelle 15 Christian Wilkins 20 RB
3 Tyrone Crowder 10 Van Smith 13 Pat Godfrey 16 Deon Cain 21 Other
4 Ryan Carter 17 Mitch Hyatt
5 Marcus Edmond 18 Austin Bryant
6 Dorian O'Daniel
Made by Ryan Kantor

This recruiting class was expected to be pretty small, currently standing at 15 signees, but with draft announcements and transfers the class could end up with around 20 signees.

As for who will replace Smith opposite Tanner Muse, look for either Isaiah Simmons or K’Von Wallace to be the leaders in the race to take his spot, both have seen a good bit of game action (Wallace more than Simmons) and it will be interesting to see who ends up taking over.