McDaniel says he's coming back

CLEMSON - DeAndre McDaniel set a few goals for himself prior to his arrival at Clemson.

The most important one has him graduating with a degree in sociology.

"I want to set an example for my sister and my little brother and everybody who looks up to me," McDaniel said. "That's always been one of my goals, to graduate from college."

Unless he projects as a first round pick, which he doesn't expect to happen, McDaniel said he would return for his senior season.

"If they do (project me into the first round), then I'm going to have to make a decision. As of now, it's a 99.9 percent chance I'm coming back," he said.

McDaniel believes the presence of Eric Berry and Taylor Mays in the upcoming NFL Draft could handcuff his position.

"Those are two people that not many teams are thinking about dropping," McDaniel said. "There aren't too many times when three safeties go in the first round. You've got to look at that kind of stuff.

"I feel like I'm just as good as them, but it wouldn't hurt for me to return and put up the same kind of numbers."

McDaniel said there are several players and a system returning to Clemson next season that would also make it too hard for him not to return, even at the risk of injury.

"I'm a football player. I feel like coming back under coach (Kevin) Steele, I can make the same kind of plays," he said. "There's no rush for the NFL. It's always going to be there."

Another goal McDaniel set: break the school's single-season interception record.

After grabbing his eighth this season in Saturday's 40-24 win over Florida State, he's now tied with Robert O'Neal (1989) and Justin Miller (2002) for the record.

On the return of that pick, McDaniel eyed up Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder. With a point and a big smile in Ponder's direction, McDaniel personified a truck when he and Ponder met.

"I told everyone that Brandon Jacobs and me are working out together, so I had to show them some of my running back skills," McDaniel said.

Some might say the play defines the swagger of the Clemson defense. McDaniel believes it sums up their aggression.

"That's how coach Steele wants us to play--aggressive," he said. "I just pointed (Ponder) out to let him know it's going to come." Top Stories