One of the best players on Clemson’s roster will not be playing in the Orange Bowl. Myles Murphy, a former five-star prospect at defensive end, has declared for the NFL Draft and also opted out of the bowl game against Tennessee.
Murphy is the tenth ranked player in the NFL Draft, according to ESPN. Despite the lack of dominant stats, Murphy has all of the tools NFL teams want up front. The 6-5, 275 pound defensive lineman put up seven sacks last year, following that up with 6.5 sacks this season. He added 14.5 and 11 tackles for loss in the past two seasons.
Bryan Breese, another top 20 prospect, is also another opt-out candidate. We’ll see about that situation in the coming week.
This is obviously a little bit of a plus for Tennessee, which has turned to Joe Milton at quarterback following the season-ending injury to Hendon Hooker. Milton, blessed with perhaps the strongest arm in all of college football, is still a little bit of a wildcard. He’s consistently struggled with accuracy during his time at Tennessee, and he’s going to be without at least one of his top targets in the Clemson matchup.
Cedric Tillman, coming off of an injury-filled 2022 season, has already opted out. So has Biletnikoff Award winner Jalin Hyatt. Right tackle Darnell Wright is another situation to watch for the Volunteers.
Clemson will also be without linebacker Trenton Simpson, who could be a first round pick. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has entered the transfer portal after being benched for Cade Klubnik.
Clemson, fresh off of a dominant performance against North Carolina in the ACC Championship, opened as a four-point favorite over Tennessee last week. Expect that number to move around a bit as the opt-out news continues to flow.