Posted by Adam Jacobi
It's nearly impossible for a defensive end to have a better season than Clemson junior Da'Quan Bowers had in 2010. Bowers led the nation in sacks, tied Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan for most tackles for loss, was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, was a unanimous first-team All-American, and won the Ted Hendricks Award in December. How many more exclamation points does one college career need?
To that end, Bowers surprised very few by declaring for the NFL draft today. Here's his statement released to the media, via The Herald:
"I want to thank everyone at Clemson for all they have done for me the last three years. I want to especially thank Coach (Dabo) Swinney and his staff for helping me develop on the field, and mature as a person, he said.
You hear people talk about the Clemson family, and when my father passed this past summer, I saw that first hand. There is a great support system at Clemson. The coaches and players were all there for me and I will never forget that.
I also want to thank my teammates for all the support the last three years. I would not have received these honors this year without them. I made lifelong friends at Clemson.
I feel I am ready to go to the next level and I look forward to working hard in preparation for the draft.”
It's hard to disagree that Bowers is ready; he was an elite prospect coming out of high school, and he's grown into a 6'4", 280-pound terror in just three years at the collegiate level. Bowers has even drawn comparisons to Reggie White and Bruce Smith from NFL draft analysts, and while those are certainly lofty goals, Bowers seems like the best prospect to meet those two's standards since, well, them. It's time for Bowers to start working toward those new goals and get paid handsomely to do so.