Clemson's National Title Could Be Clelin Ferrell's Last Act Before NFL

SANTA CLARA -- Clelin Farrell just completed a perfect college football season.

Clemson's star defensive end finished with double-digit sacks, was named a first-team All-American and won the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top player at his position. His Tigers dominated Alabama 44-16 on Monday night at Levi's Stadium to win the national college football championship.

Ferrell finished his redshirt junior season healthy, ready for whatever comes next.

"I'm not going to look back at this season not as an individual thing," Ferrell said. "This was a journey with my teammates here at Clemson. To see us go out and do everything we set out to do and cap it by beating a great team, that means the world to us."

It doesn't get much better than that. It also might be the perfect end to an excellent college career. Ferrell can walk off a winner, and start preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft.

[RELATED: Raiders GM Mike Mayock already on NFL draft prep, scouts Alabama-Clemson]

He could be a Raiders selection at No. 4 overall, joining a team that desperately needs a polished edge rusher who's capable against the run and pass.

Ferrell wasn't ready to turn pro just yet, even if that's logical for someone who has achieved almost everything in college football, and is expected to be a top-10 pick.

The thrill of victory, after all, was still coursing through his veins.

"How can you leave this?" Ferrell said. "Look around. How can you walk away from this team, this coaching staff? It's going to be a tough decision, for sure."

Maybe, maybe not when logic takes hold. Ferrell will allow that to happen before making his intentions public.

"I'll take some time with family and think about it. I'll talk to my coaches and come to a decision," he said. "But I'm going to celebrate this one first. We're going to celebrate for the next couple days. Any time you beat a team like that, you have to celebrate. I'll come to a decision at the right time, when I can take the emotion out of it and put everything on the table."

That should lead toward a decision that puts millions in his bank account. It didn't happen Monday night, despite several opportunities for Ferrell to confirm he's turning pro.

But he did sum up the Clemson season as well as anyone, using an apt, albeit crude analogy to describe the 2018 Tigers experience.

"It's like taking a dump," he said with a laugh. "We got the job done this season, and we got [to the title game]. But, if you don't wipe, you'll feel terrible. We wiped up tonight, so we feel great."

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