Higgins, Muse selected on Day 2 of NFL Draft
CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins (No. 33 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals) and safety Tanner Muse (No. 100 overall to the Las Vegas Raiders) were both selected on Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft on Friday evening. Including the selections of linebacker Isaiah Simmons and cornerback A.J. Terrell on Thursday, Clemson now has four selections through the first three rounds of this year’s draft.
“Wide Receiver U” took center stage as Day 2 commenced. The Bengals selected Higgins with the evening’s first pick, pushing Clemson’s nation-leading and school-record number of consecutive drafts with a wide receiver selected to five. The two-time All-ACC selection became the ninth Clemson receiver selected in the NFL Draft since 2013.
The Raiders have become a frequent destination for Clemson draft picks in recent years and added to that association with the selection of Muse in the third round. Including the Raiders’ selections of Clelin Ferrell, Trayvon Mullen and Hunter Renfrow in the 2019 NFL Draft and Muse’s selection this year, the Raiders became the first NFL franchise to draft four Clemson players in a two-draft span since the New York Giants in the 1983-84 drafts.
- With four rounds remaining in the 2020 NFL Draft, Clemson has now produced 28 NFL Draft picks in the last five years, one shy of the 29 drafted across both the 2013-17 and 2015-19 drafts.
- Clemson produced four players in the first three rounds of a draft for the fourth time in school history, matching school records for the first three rounds set in the 1991, 2016 and 2019 drafts. Clemson has now produced four players in the first three rounds of consecutive drafts for the first time in program history.
- Clemson has now produced multiple first-round picks in back-to-back years for the first time in program history. Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma are the only schools to have produced multiple first-round picks in both the 2019 and 2020 NFL Drafts.
- Clemson has now produced multiple first-round picks in back-to-back years for the first time in program history. Twenty-six picks into the 2020 NFL Draft, Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma are the only schools to have produced multiple first-round picks in both the 2019 and 2020 NFL Drafts.
- Clemson produced multiple first-round picks on defense for the second year in a row, the two of three instances of multiple first-round defenders in school history. Clemson had two offensive players selected in the 1979 and 2017 first rounds, two defensive players selected in 2015, and had one offensive and one defensive player selected in 1982.
- Clemson produced two Top 16 picks for the third time in school history and the third time in four drafts, joining the 2017 (Mike Williams and Deshaun Watson) and 2019 (Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins) drafts.
- Clemson has now had at least one first-round selection in seven of the last eight NFL Drafts. Clemson is now one of only three schools with at least one first-round pick in at least seven of the last eight drafts, alongside Alabama and Florida.
- Clemson extended its streak of consecutive drafts with at least one selection to 18 since 2003, representing the second-longest streak in school history behind a 24-year streak across the 1951-74 NFL Drafts.
- Became the 60th player to have played for Head Coach Dabo Swinney to be drafted into the NFL, including the ninth second-round pick of Swinney’s tenure.
- Was the 10th wide receiver in Swinney’s head coaching tenure to be drafted into the NFL. He was the 14th Clemson wide receiver under Swinney’s guidance to be drafted including Swinney’s stint as wide receivers coach from 2003-08.
- Represents Clemson’s ninth draft pick at wide receiver since 2013. Clemson’s eight previous selections at wide receiver from across the 2013-19 NFL Drafts were tied for the most in the country.
- Extended Clemson’s school-record number of consecutive drafts with a wide receiver selected to five. It is presently the nation’s longest active streak (Note: Georgia can tie this streak with a selection this year).
- Gave Clemson at least one receiver selected in seven of the last eight NFL Drafts, dating to DeAndre Hopkins’ selection in 2013.
- Became the first offensive player from Clemson selected in the second round since the Seattle Seahawks selected WR Doug Thomas in 1991. Clemson’s previous 17 second-round picks had been defensive players, including the previous eight who all played under Head Coach Dabo Swinney.
- Was the fourth Clemson player selected by the Bengals all-time, joining TE Jim Riggs (1987), DT Donald Broomfield (1999) and DT Brandon Thompson (2012). Was Clemson’s second No. 33 overall selection all-time, joining DE Kevin Dodd’s 2016 selection by the Tennessee Titans.
- Became the 61st player to have played for Head Coach Dabo Swinney to be drafted into the NFL, including the sixth third-round pick of Swinney’s tenure.
- Became the 15th defensive back (and sixth safety) selected in the Swinney era, dating back to the 2009 NFL Draft.
- Was the 10th Clemson player selected by the Raiders all-time, including an AFL Draft and Supplemental Draft selection. Prior to last year, the Raiders had gone nine years since their most recent selection from Clemson (Jacoby Ford in 2010). The Raiders have since drafted four Clemson players across the 2019-20 drafts.
- Gave Clemson selections by the Raiders in back-to-back drafts for the first time since 1992-93, when the then-Los Angeles Raiders selected DT Chester McGlockton and CB James Trapp in consecutive drafts.
- Made the Raiders the first team to select four Clemson players in a two-draft span since the New York Giants in 1983-84.
- Represents the third No. 100 overall selection in Clemson history, joining T Brandon Thomas (2014) and LB Dorian O’Daniel (2018).
COMMENTS ON HIGGINS
HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY: “Tee Higgins is as complete a receiver as we’ve had come out of Clemson. I think he’s in the same category as Williams when it comes to being a complete receiver and you’re talking about size, speed, athleticism, catch radius, ball skills, ability to lean on people, body control and all of those type of things. He’s as complete a receiver as we’ve had come out of here. Tee is a great kid and a Day One starter.”
WIDE RECEIVERS COACH TYLER GRISHAM: “Tee is a consistently hard-working young man. For a high-profile guy and just a naturally talented player, it comes easy to him, but he doesn’t rest on his laurels and wants to improve every day. He’s a great practice player, which shows up on game day. Being so tall, he can win on jump balls. Having a basketball background, he’s able to time up those jump balls well, but for being a tall guy, he runs routes like he’s a 5’10” or 6’0” guy and has great top-end speed. His ability to get in and out of his breaks with ease is uncommon for a 6’4” receiver. He has phenomenal hands, but what gets overlooked is his toughness and strength. He was one of our best blockers because he has the tools and he cares and has the ‘want-to’ to do his job and help his teammates out. As a person, he’s a kind and respectful young man. He’s got a great smile and an innocence to him, and he’s known as a great teammate who is loved by his peers.”
COMMENTS ON MUSE
HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY: “Tanner Muse is a poor man’s version of Isaiah Simmons, and what I mean by that is he’s not 6’4’’, but he’s very similar to Isaiah in that he can do a lot of things. In a day and age where everybody’s looking for a hybrid guy, he is the ultimate hybrid guy. He was a great safety for us but has the confidence to play linebacker and has elite speed. He can run with anybody. I think he’s a guy that has a chance to be an All-Pro special teams player. I think he’s got that type of impact. He’s a core special teams guy. He’s incredibly smart — a fifth-year senior, graduate, great leader, captain, and is going to really make somebody a heck of a football player. He’s got great energy and brings great energy and enthusiasm every single day and is excited about his opportunity coming up. It’s the same thing as Isaiah: He’s got versatility, he can do a lot of things and he can really, really run.”
SAFETIES COACH MICKEY CONN: “The Raiders are getting an unbelievable talent. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, he’s physical. He’s just an incredible player. He’s a great leader. He can flat run. People have no idea how fast this guy is at his size. You’re talking about a guy who is 230 pounds that can run a 4.3 40-yard dash. He’s physical, aggressive and smart. He’s going to learn the defense. He knows he’s going to be very detailed in the understanding of the defense. Tanner is a student of the game and is going to be well-prepared. He’s more athletic than people give him credit for and he’s going to be an All-Pro on special teams early on. He can play all the special teams to start with and he’ll make a huge impact. And not only can he play safety, but he can play linebacker, he can play nickel, he could probably play defensive end. I mean, the guy is an unbelievable talent and he’s a winner and just a great leader for his team.”