2020 NFL Draft: Clemson’s do-everything defender Isaiah Simmons decides to leave school early

One of the most talented and versatile players in the country is moving on. Clemson linebacker/safety/cornerback/edge rusher/history professor/superhero Isaiah Simmons announced Saturday he is entering the 2020 NFL Draft.

“From the moment I arrived at Clemson, I was overwhelmed by the number of individuals who committed themselves to my development, both as a football player and as a man. That commitment was a direct result of the culture created by Coach Dabo Swinney and Coach Brent Venables, without a doubt, the best coaches in the country.” Simmons wrote. “I will never be able to thank them enough for placing their trust in me and honoring their pledge to mold me into an elite athlete.

“It’s time for me to take the next step in my journey. Today, it is with great humility and gratitude that I announced that I will be declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft. While I am incredibly excited about the opportunities and challenges that await me, please know that a part of my heart will always remain here in Clemson, South Carolina.”

To say that Simmons will be difficult to replace is an understatement. Simmons finished the 2019 season with 102 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three interceptions, another eight passes broken up, a forced fumble, and he probably could have caught 25 passes if Clemson felt like lining him up at receiver, too. Alas, he needed a snap off once in a while.

For an idea of how versatile and effective Simmons was, check out this tweet from ESPN’s Field Yates detailing how Simmons was used.

It’s that talent and versatility that will almost certainly see Simmons drafted in the top 10 of this spring’s NFL Draft. In an era where defenses need to be able to adapt to so many different things at once, Simmons might be the prototype of the future. 

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