The NFL Draft has come and gone with former Clemson player Justyn Ross never hearing his name.
Only Andrew Booth Jr. and Baylon Spector heard their names called. The last time Clemson had just two players selected in the draft was in 2008, when Tommy Bowden was the head coach of the 2008 NFL Draft. That’s a record low for the Dabo era. Swinney, as the previous low was three in 2018.
The biggest surprise, however, was that Ross was not drafted. The former 5-star Alabama prospect was all but considered a first-round lock after bursting onto the scene as a rookie during the Tigers’ national title run in 2018, but had medical issues entering the NFL Draft.
He caught 46 passes for a team-record 1,000 yards, with nine touchdowns. His 21.7 yards per catch average was a single-season school high among players with at least 20 receptions, and he was named a freshman All-American by 247 Sports.
The dynamic wide had two memorable performances in the 2018 College Football Playoff wins over Notre Dame and Alabama, with Ross recording 12 catches for 301 yards and three touchdowns. The freshman torched the Crimson Tide in the national title game, catching 6 catches for 153 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown.
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After dropping in the NFL draft, Clemson’s Andrew Booth is crazy
CLEMSON, SC — Andrew Booth, Jr. has a chip on his shoulder. The cornerback was selected in the second round Friday night by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2022 NFL Draft. And while he relishes the opportunity the Vikings are giving him as the 42nd overall pick, he is looking forward to prove that the other 31 teams that have passed him are wrong.
Andrew Booth ‘brings a lot to the table’ for Minnesota Vikings
CLEMSON, SC — The Minnesota Vikings entered day two of the 2022 NFL Draft with the No. 34 overall pick. With the Vikings in need of a cornerback and Andrew Booth still on the board as the top-rated corner, it seemed like a done deal for the former Clemson Tiger.
In 2019, Ross had a team-best 66 catches for 865 yards and nine touchdowns, earning All-ACC honorable mentions. However, his luck was about to run out.
During spring training ahead of his junior season in 2020, it was discovered that Ross had a congenital spinal condition that would require surgery to fix. Not only was he going to miss his entire junior season, but there were also questions about whether he would ever play again.
Ross spent the next calendar year looking back and returned for Clemson’s season opener against Georgia last season. Although, despite leading the team in catches (46) and receiving yards (514), Ross has never looked like the same player. It was later revealed that he played the whole season with a foot injury before it eventually forced him to miss the last three games.
He would return to train at Clemson’s Pro Day in March, but he ran a 4.68 dash for 40 yards and was unable to participate in all drills. Its vertical was an unimpressive 31.5 inches.
Combine those measurables with the questions surrounding its durability due to neck surgery, and it’s possible the teams just didn’t think it was worth the risk. Maybe there’s a team ready to shoot the talented receiver as an undrafted free agent, maybe not, but that’s definitely not how Ross’ career at Clemson was meant to end. .
A wide and long receiver with below average speed and good road running abilities. Ross can split on timing routes and use his length to make the football stand out. He lacks explosiveness and fails to play his size consistently. A great blocker, he projects himself as a starting outside receiver or big slot early in his career. To be more than a secondary option, Ross needs to consistently win in the air. Injury issues and the average ability of special teams due to lack of speed hurt his assessment.
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