As Sunday morning dawned bright and early, so did the NFL hopes of two of the most prolific offensive players in Clemson history: wide receiver DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins (2010-12) and running back Andre Ellington (2009-12).
Competing in Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts, both former Tigers looked to increase their draft stock with strong showings in the Hoosier State.
Hoping to catapult himself into the first round, Hopkins’ stellar performance may have done exactly that. In the 40-yard dash, an event many pegged to be Hopkins’ weakness, the former Tiger posted a solid 4.57 second time.
Displaying his incredible jumping ability, the Central, S.C., native posted a 36-inch vertical jump and 115-inch broad jump. Hopkins also did 15 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and recorded a time of 4.50 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, while measuring 6-foot-1 and 214 pounds.
According to NFL.com, Hopkins’ draft grade is 87.8, which ranks him in the range from 85-95 that is classified as an “Immediate Starter” and projects him as a first-round pick. NFL.com describes players who fall in that range as “an impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).”
For Ellington, Sunday marked a chance to prove to the NFL scouts that his smaller size won’t hamper his playmaking ability. The product of Moncks Corner, S.C., ran a time of 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash, recorded a 34-inch vertical jump and a 122-inch broad jump.
Ellington, who came in at 5-foot-9 and 199 pounds, has a draft grade of 79.7 by NFL.com, which places him in the range of players with grades of 70-84 who are labeled “Eventual Starters” and worthy of being drafted in the second to third round. NFL.com describes players in that range as “a quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.”
On Monday, defensive end Malliciah Goodman (2009-12) was set to perform, as he looks to follow the example of his former Tiger teammates and put up a strong performance at the Combine.
Goodman, who measured 6-foot-4, 276 pounds, has a draft grade of 67.7 according to NFL.com, which labels him as a “Draftable Player” who could go in the fourth to seventh rounds. Those players are described by NFL.com as “a prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.”
Booker getting back to full strength. Battling injuries throughout the season, former Tiger basketball standout Trevor Booker (2006-10) appears to be on the road to recovery for the Washington Wizards. With wrist, knee, ankle and hamstring injuries dating back to the preseason, Booker’s season has been plagued by constant pain and rehabilitation. With the mounting injuries, he has only seen action in 21 games this year.
Most recently, a painful wrist injury sidelined Booker for six games. Finally returning to the court on Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors, Booker looked to be back to old form.
The Whitmire, S.C., native held his own in the paint, playing 20 minutes, scoring 10 points and notching six rebounds. Tuesday night’s performance was a big step for Booker, as the game marked the first time since Nov. 10, that Booker scored double figures in a contest. Although playing well, Booker’s solid performance was not enough as Washington lost to Toronto by an 88-96 score.