Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell is set to play in his final college football game before entering the 2019 NFL Draft. He’s highly thought of and is likely going to be selected early in the first round.
He also wears No. 99, which he divulged Saturday is because he models his game after former Missouri star Aldon Smith, who went on to be a star in the NFL before off-field issues ended his career.
Speaking about the number, and how he models his game after Smith, Ferrell offered quite the eye-opening and bold statement: “I think I can be what he should have been,” he said, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area.
Before Smith’s drinking and related domestic violence incidents ended his career, he was one of the NFL’s preeminent pass rushers. In his first two seasons, he racked up 33.5 sacks. In 59 career games, he tallied 47.5 sacks.
Talent was never an issue, and if Ferrell can live up to that benchmark while maintaining good character off the field he’ll be a gem at the NFL level.
For what it’s worth, Ferrell has put up stats during his tenure at Clemson that dwarf what Smith did in his career at Missouri. Heading into the National Championship Game against ‘Bama, he’s tallied 162 tackles, including 82 solo, and 27 sacks.