HERO Sports is counting down the days until the kickoff of the 2018 college football season on Saturday, Aug. 25, by featuring the best player in the FBS at each jersey number, from 99-1. Each day, from May 18 through Aug. 24, we'll publish one article showcasing the best player whose jersey number matches the number of days remaining.
No. 99 Clelin Ferrell
Clemson – DE
The Clemson defensive end is a former four-star recruit who was the seventh-ranked weak-side defensive end and 115th-ranked recruit in the 2015 class (247Sports). He redshirted in 2015 as Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson led a stacked Tigers' front seven.
A year later, Ferrell ranked third on the Tigers' national championship team in both tackles for loss (12.5) and sacks (six). He also averaged more than 1.5 quarterback pressures per game.
"He's getting there," defensive coordinator Brent Venables said of Ferrell after the then-redshirt freshman had one sack in Clemson's shutout of Ohio State in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl. "That was a step closer. But his best football is still all in front of him."
Venables was right. Ferrell's 18 tackles for loss and nine sacks last year both ranked in the top 25 nationally and earned him AP First-Team All-America and First-Team ACC honors. He — along with Christian Wilkins — then stunned everyone by passing on the 2018 NFL Draft for another season at Clemson.
“Clelin and Christian both got second-round grades and I think they had a real decision to make," Dabo Swinney said. "Their goal is to be no-doubt first-rounders; they made the decision to come back, and that’s their reason. Simple as that. If they got first-round grades from the committee, they would’ve gone."
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