Clockwise Israel Mukuamu/SidelineCarolina; Shi Smith/SidelineCarolina; Cornell Powell/Sugar Bowl; Tarron Jackson/Coastal Athletics
The 2021 NFL Draft concluded Saturday and schools in the state of South Carolina sent four more players to the league in the final four rounds, and several more thru free agent signings. Clemson receiver Cornell Powell went to Kansas City in the 5th round. USC receiver Shi Smith and cornerback Israel Mukuamu were sixth round selections of the Panthers and Cowboys respectively. And Coastal Carolina DE Tarron Jackson was the 6th round choice of the Eagles.
Clemson finished the draft with five selections. USC had four players taken and Coastal Carolina had the only other player from an in-state school to be drafted.
Players from in-state schools taken in the 2021 Draft:
- Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence/#1/Jacksonville
- USC CB Jaycee Horn/#8/Carolina
- Clemson RB Travis Etienne/#25/Jacksonville
- Clemson OT Jackson Carman/#46/Cincinnati
- Clemson WR Amari Rodgers/#85/Green Bay
- USC LB Ernest Jones/#103/Rams
- Clemson WR Cornell Powell/#181/Kansas City
- Coastal Carolina DE Tarron Jackson/191/Eagles
- USC WR Shi Smith/#204/Carolina
- USC CB Israel Mukuamu/#227/Cowboys
Other picks of interest:
- Duke DE Chris Rumph II, son of the former USC defensive end, #118 to Chargers.
- Florida State SAF Hamsah Nasirildeen of Florida State, who once was committed to USC, #186 to Jets.
- Georgia Tech P Pressley Harvin III of Sumter, #254 to Steelers.
Here are reported free agent signings:
- USC QB Collin Hill/Bengals
- USC FB Adam Prentics/Broncos
- USC OG Sadarius Hutcherson/Buccaneers
- Former Clemson OG Gage Cervenka/Bears
- Coastal Carolina RB CJ Marable/Bears
- Georgia Southern DE Raymond Johnson III (Sumter)/Giants
- NC State/Notre Dame CB Nick McCloud (South Pointe)/Bills
- Tennessee DB Bryce Thompson (Dutch Fork)/Saints
- Clemson/Maryland LB Shaq Smith/Saints
- Clemson/Arkansas DT Xavier Kelly/Ravens
- Louisville CB Marlon Character (one-time USC commitment)/Chiefs
- Notes on Powell provided by Clemson:
- Became the 69th player to have played for Head Coach Dabo Swinney to be drafted into the NFL, including the 14th fifth-round pick of Swinney’s tenure.
- Became the 12th wide receiver in Swinney’s head coaching tenure to be drafted into the NFL.
- Became the 16th Clemson wide receiver under Swinney’s guidance to be drafted including Swinney’s stint as wide receivers coach from 2003-08.
- Represented Clemson’s 11th draft pick at wide receiver since 2013, the most of any school.
- Gave Clemson multiple wide receivers in a single draft for the third time in the Swinney era, joining 2014 (Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant) and 2018 (Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud).
- Became the first No. 181 overall pick in Clemson history.
- Selected in the same round (fifth) and same division (AFC West) as former Clemson teammate Hunter Renfrow, who was a fifth-round pick of the Raiders in 2019.
- Became the sixth Clemson player drafted by the Chiefs all-time, joining RB Jay Washington (1974), QB Steve Fuller (1979), WR Stan Rome (1979), T Barry Richardson (2008) and LB Dorian O’Daniel (2018).
Head Coach Dabo Swinney on Cornell Powell:
“The Chiefs are getting a young man of commitment and perseverance, a young man that has finally put it all together and is just hungry to go continue what he finished his career with last year. There is a drive and hunger to him that I think is special. It is fun to see a guy that finally puts it all together, whether it be overcoming injuries, opportunity or the technical aspect of the game. He did that. It has been fun to watch him. He is physical. He has got a great body. He is a big, strong kid that can play multiple positions. Same thing as Amari Rodgers — he really handles himself well and really understands the nuances of playing receiver as far of the technical aspect of his stance, his starts, the releases, and break points and influence in his route running and so forth. They are getting a guy that has a confidence to go with the talent. I am excited about him because his upside is higher than the round where he was drafted. So I am excited for the Chiefs because I think he is the guy that is going to be able to help early. Same thing as Amari — he has a lot special teams’ value. He can return, he can cover kicks, he can play gunner. He is going to bring a lot to the table. And I think he has got an NFL-ready body right now. But his best football is still in front of him. The light has come on bright for him. There is a hunger, and again, there is a spirit of confidence to him that I think will separate him on this next step.”
Powell takes questions from the Chiefs’ media
Notes on Smith provided by USC:
The top receiver on the squad… named one of four permanent team captains… earned second-team All-SEC honors from Phil Steele and from Pro Football Focus… started all nine games in which he appeared… paced the team with 57 receptions for 633 yards and four touchdowns… ranked fifth in the SEC in receptions per game (6.33) and ninth in receiving yards per game (70.3)… opened the season in impressive fashion with a 10-catch, 140-yard, one touchdown performance against Tennessee… set a career high with 12 catches at Florida for 85 yards and a score… became the first player in school history to record double-digit receptions in back-to-back games… logged eight receptions for 76 yards with a touchdown in the upset win over Auburn… posted 10 receptions for 117 yards and a score at Ole Miss… appeared in 43 games during his four-year career at Carolina with 35 starts… caught 174 passes for 2,204 yards and 13 touchdowns… finished his career ranked fourth in receptions, behind only Bryan Edwards, Kenny McKinley and Alshon Jeffery… ranked eighth in career receiving yards in Carolina history… invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine following the season.
Smith takes questions from Panthers’ media
Notes on Mukuamu provided by USC:
Lanky junior defensive back who was hampered by a groin injury for much of the season… played in six games making five starts… played both cornerback and safety… tied for the team lead with two interceptions… had picks against both Florida and LSU… opted out of the final three games of the season following the dismissal of head coach Will Muschamp… appeared in 31 career games with 19 starts… credited with seven career INTs and 10 pass breakups… invited to the NFL Combine.
Notes on Jackson provided by Coastal Carolina:
- Jackson becomes the seventh Chant in program history to be chosen in the NFL Draft and the first De’Angelo Henderson was chosen by the Denver Broncos in the sixth round in the 2017 NFL Draft.
- A consensus All-American in 2020, with his first team honors from the Associated Press (AP), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Football Writers Association of American (FWAA), and the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF), Jackson graduated in May 2020 with a degree in mathematics.
- Jackson, who also picked up All-American honors from ESPN (first team), the Reese’s Senior Bowl (first team), the Phil Steele Publication (first team), Sporting News (second team), and CBS Sports/247Sports (second team) this postseason, was also named a Senior CLASS second-team All-American.
- Tabbed the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Jackson was named to the All-Sun Belt first team for the second-straight season (2019 and 2020) and was named a finalist for the Lombardi Award, the Lott IMPACT Trophy, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. He was also a Bednarik Award semifinalist, a William V. Campbell Trophy semifinalist, and earned a spot on the Ted Hendricks Award watch list.
- In 2020, Jackson led the team and was second in the Sun Belt in sacks with 8.5 on the year. He also led the Chants and was third in the league in tackles-for-loss with 14.0 despite seeing double-teams on over 60 percent of the snaps he played on the year. He was also tied for second in the Sun Belt with three forced fumbles on the year while also adding 54 total tackles, 18 quarterback hurries, and one fumble recovery to his resume for 2020.
- Jackson leaves Coastal as the program’s career leader in sacks (26.5), tackles-for-loss (44.5), quarterback hurries (34), yards lost from sacks (176), and yards lost from tackles-for-loss (227).
- He played in 48 games, totaling 195 tackles while also recording six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and three pass breakups in his five years at CCU.