Stories by Clemson & USC Sports Information:
Clemson’s Andre Branch, Dwayne Allen and Brandon Thompson were all drafted by the National Football League on Friday night. Branch was taken in the second round by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Allen by the Indianapolis Colts and Thompson by the Cincinnati Bengals.
All three were taken within the first 100 selections of the NFL draft, the second straight year Clemson has had three top 100 picks, but just the second time since 1993. Being a top 100 selection is a good sign for these three Tigers, as 53 of the last 56 Clemson players taken within the first 100 picks of the draft have gone on to play in the NFL. One of the players who has not, is Jarvis Jenkins, a rookie last year with Washington who was injured in the preseason and has not had an opportunity to play yet.
Branch was the sixth selection of the second round and the 38th overall selection of the draft by Jacksonville. He is the first former Tiger drafted by the Jaguars, who have been in the NFL since 1995. Branch, who led the ACC in sacks last year with 10.5, is the first Clemson player taken with the 38th pick of the draft since Levon Kirkland was the 38th pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers on April 26, 1992. He is the highest drafted Tiger since C.J. Spiller went ninth overall to Buffalo in 2010.
Allen was the first pick of the third round by the Indianapolis Colts, the 64th overall pick of the draft. Allen, who was the winner of the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in the nation this past year, will join number-one draft pick Andrew Luck of Stanford, and tight end Coby Fleener of Stanford on the Colts team. Fleener and Allen were both finalists for the Mackey Award this past year.
Allen will join former teammate Kavell Conner on the Colts team this coming year. Conner, a seventh round pick in 2010, led the Colts in tackles last year.
Thompson was the 93rd overall pick of the draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. The second-team All-ACC performer at defensive tackle is the first Clemson player taken by the Bengals since 1999 when Donald Broomfield was taken in the seventh round.
With the selection of Branch and Thompson, Clemson’s 2010 defense that ranked in the top 10 in the nation in total defense has had six players drafted.
South Carolina junior wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was selected with the 13th pick of the second round of the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, the 45th player taken overall, on Friday night.
Jeffery, a 6-3, 213-pounder from St. Matthews, S.C., was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award in 2010 while earning first team All-America honors from AFCA, FWAA, Phil Steele and ESPN.com. He was also a second team All-American according to Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and CollegeFootballNews.com after setting the single-season school records in both receptions (88) and receiving yards (1,517). The MVP of the 2012 Capital One Bowl, Jeffery is the school’s all-time leader in career receiving yards with 3,042, the second-highest mark in SEC history. He also has the most 100-yard receiving games at Carolina (12) and is tied with Sidney Rice for the school record with 23 touchdown catches. A team captain in 2011, Jeffery ranks second in career receptions with 183, behind only Kenny McKinley.
Jeffery’s selection gave the Gamecocks three players selected among the first 45 players taken in the 2012 NFL Draft. On Thursday, junior cornerback Stephon Gilmore was selected with the 10th pick of the first round by the Buffalo Bills, while senior defensive end/outside linebacker Melvin Ingram was taken with the 18th pick in the first round by the San Diego Chargers.
Also Friday, former Ridge View star WR Brian Quick of Appalachian State was the first pick of the second round. He was taken by St. Louis as the 33rd selection.