The Decision is In

CLEMSON - Da'Quan Bowers will forego his senior year and declare for the NFL draft.

The 2010 Defensive Player of the Year, Da'Quan Bowers is doing what everyone expected him to do after a record-setting season - he's turning pro.

In a statement released Wednesday, Bowers confirmed the move.

"I want to thank everyone at Clemson for all they have done for me the last three years. I want to especially thank Coach (Dabo) Swinney and his staff for helping me develop on the field, and mature as a person," he said.

"You hear people talk about the Clemson family, and when my father passed this past summer, I saw that first hand. There is a great support system at Clemson. The coaches and players were all there for me and I will never forget that.

"I also want to thank my teammates for all the support the last three years. I would not have received these honors this year without them. I made lifelong friends at Clemson.

"I feel I am ready to go to the next level and I look forward to working hard in preparation for the draft."

Bowers had a breakout 2010 season when he led the nation in sacks with 15.5 and ranked second in tackles for loss with 26. The sack total is the second most in Clemson history and the tackle for loss total is one off the school record for a defensive lineman. He broke Gaines Adams record for sacks in a season by a Clemson defensive lineman.

"Da'Quan and I talked about this decision at length," said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. "We obviously would love to have him return for his senior year, but we certainly understand the decision. Most see him as a top five selection in the NFL draft.

"He has grown as a person this past year and he showed everyone his capabilities on the field. We challenged him to become a dominant defensive player and he was just that."

Bowers also had 74 tackles overall, second best on the team, and led the team in quarterback pressures with 20. He had a streak of nine straight games in which he was involved in a sack, also a Clemson record.

Bowers, the former No. 1 prospect in the country according to in the 2008 recruiting class, started his career at Clemson slowly before capturing multiple awards this year.

He won the Nagurski Award as the top defensive player in college football as selected by the Football Writers Association, and the Ted Hendricks Award as the top defensive end in college football. He was also a finalist for the Lombardi Award and the Bednarik Award.

He is expected to be one of the first defensive players taken in the upcoming NFL draft in April.

Bowers told CUTigers last month most people he's spoken with about his decision have maintained it would be best for him to go ahead and make the jump to the next level.

"That's what everybody says," he said. "I hear it on Facebook and Twitter. Every time I talk to a person about leaving, they tell me I'd be crazy to come back.

"It's not all about the money. It's not all about the fame and glory. I have bigger dreams than the NFL. It's all about making the right decision and being smart about it." Top Stories