Since he figured the second-round would be the highest he’d go in the upcoming draft, McDaniel announced Tuesday that the NFL can wait another year.
That is, unless the paper work he submitted comes back with a first-round grade, he’s definitely back.
“If it is a first-round grade, you can’t really pass that up,” McDaniel told reporters Tuesday evening in the West Zone.
“I’m pretty sure it’s not, as of now, anyway. With Taylor Mays and Eric Berry going in the first-round, there aren’t too many safeties that go in the first-round.”
McDaniel made his decision to return, based on what he’s heard and read about his potential draft stock. It also helps to have a few things “left on the table” at Clemson.
“I want to win a championship and I want another shot at the Thorpe Award,” he said. “I’ve still got some goals of my own.”
His goals include: the school interception record, Thorpe Award, ACC Championship and a National Championship.
There’s one other personal goal he wants to accomplish too.
“Especially my degree--I’m not going to forget that,” McDaniel said.
With the decision, he could graduate as early as August with a degree in Sociology. He could also spread out the class load and finish in December.
Then again, it could be even later.
“It’s got to be first-round money to take away what I want to accomplish here,” McDaniel said.
Coming to his current decision took plenty mulling over.
“Just sitting down with my family, most of them want me to come back,” McDaniel said. “Listening to outsiders, a lot of them say I should leave while I’m hot.”
Talking to his grandmother helped make the decision for his return to Clemson.
“She really meant it and said that I really need to go back to school,” McDaniel said. “The first time she told me, she had talked to coach (Dabo) Swinney. I kind of felt since she talked to coach Swinney, he probably persuaded her to tell me to come back to school. I know coach Swinney wants what’s best for me. Sitting down talking to her, I know she wants what’s best for me.”
He returns to a defense that led the ACC with 21 interceptions and finished third nationally in interceptions this past season. The Clemson secondary finished first in the conference in pass defense and sixth nationally. McDaniel was named to the first-team Football Writers All American team.
Next season, there’s no doubt that he would be looked upon as one of the team’s leaders, not just in the secondary.
“I’m ready to lead in that kind of way. We had some great seniors this year in Thomas (Austin), Mike Palmer, Kavell (Conner) and Chris Chancellor,” McDaniel said. “I feel like a lot of players were looking up to me in a way. Now, since it’s my turn, I’m going to be more involved in telling them things to do, and what not to do.
“I feel like it’s my time.”