NCAA Football: Clemson at Boston College

Clemson star defenders Myles Murphy and Trenton Simpson are declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft and neither will be available for the Orange Bowl against Tennessee. Murphy, a defensive end, earned first-team All-ACC honors as a junior this season while amassing 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Simpson, a linebacker, earned third-team All-ACC honors with 72 tackles, including 2.5 sacks. He was dealing with an ankle injury that had already cast doubt on his availability for the bowl game before he revealing his draft decision.

"Me and my family all talked, and I was able to sit down with my coaches," Simpson told ESPN. "I felt like this was what's best for me. I worked my whole life for this opportunity."

As for Murphy, Swinney said Tuesday that it was an "easy conversation" with the former five-star prospect.

"I think he contemplated things, whether or not he was going to come back or go pro," Swinney told reporters. "And then whether or not he was going to play in the game. He didn't make a decision on a whim. He's a very deep guy and has a lot of support around him. Comes from a great family. We support the decision and keep moving. He's a great player and will be a high-draft pick and think he'll test well and be a great player for a long time."

Both players are regarded as potential first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft after helping to anchor Clemson's strong defense over the past three season.

NFL Draft stocks

Murphy could be among the first defensive players off the board in next year's draft after putting together three consecutive productive seasons before his 21st birthday. CBS Sports NFL Draft writer Ryan Wilson projects Murphy as the No. 4 overall pick to the Detroit Lions in a recent mock draft.

"Murphy won't be 21 until next spring and while we'd like to see him play with more consistency ... he won't be 21 until next spring," Wilson wrote. "On top of that, when he's on, he's hard to stop, which makes him such an interesting prospect."

Fellow draft writers Chris Trapasso and Josh Edawards also think highly of Murphy, with Trapasso projecting him to go No. 5 to the Philadelphia Eagles and Edwards pegging Murphy at No. 6 to the Carolina Panthers. Projections vary for Simpson, but Edwards projects Simpson to go No. 10 to the Atlanta Falcons while Wilson and Trapasso also project him to be selected in the first round.

"Simpson's size and athleticism is unquestioned, but he needs to play with more awareness at times -- and the Broncos have needs at the position," Wilson wrote. "They could also target the offensive line here, but five have already gone off the board."

Impact on Clemson

Losing such disruptive members of its front seven before a top-10 bowl showdown is far from ideal for Clemson, but Swinney seemed to anticipate the possibility. 

"You can agree to disagree but still love each other," Swinney said in regards to Murphy. "Gave him my thoughts, but it's his decision. High-five him, love him up, and we'll get ready to play." 

Kevin Swint and Justin Mascoll are veteran reserves at defensive end who could be in line for greater roles both in the bowl game and next season. Swint has appeared in 12 games this season with 10 tackles while Mascoll has appeared in 12 games with 18 tackles. Both are former four-star prospects with at least one season of eligibility remaining beyond this season. True freshman Wade Woodaz is listed as Simpson's backup. The former three-star prospect has made 18 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss, this season.

As for reinforcements next season, four of the top-six players in Clemson's No. 9 ranked 2023 recruiting class are defensive linemen who should help bolster the Tigers in the defensive trenches next season. Eight of the Tigers' 24 commitments are projected as linebackers or defensive linemen.