Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Kendall Joseph, Mark Fields Returning to Clemson

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2018

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 25:  Clelin Ferrell #99 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after a play against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney announced Saturday that defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant, linebacker Kendall Joseph and cornerback Mark Fields are all returning to school next season, according to Clemson Sports Information Director Tim Bourret.

Bourret also noted that Swinney did not comment on defensive tackle Christian Wilkins' status.

Ferrell will be a junior in 2018, while Bryant, Joseph and Fields will all be seniors.

The quartet of defenders were part of a Clemson team that finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation before falling to the eventual national championship-winning Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl.

Clemson's defense finished the 2017 campaign ranked second in the nation with 13.6 points allowed per game.

Ferrell is widely considered the best pro prospect of the bunch, as he racked up 66 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss as a redshirt sophomore in 2017.

Bryant also enjoyed a career-best season in 2017 with 50 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.

After racking up 106 tackles in 2016, Joseph finished the 2017 season with 96 tackles, five tackles for loss, a half sack and one interception.

Fields appeared in 11 games as a sophomore, but he was limited to just five contests in 2017 because of injury, finishing with 15 tackles, two passes defended and no interceptions.

In his most recent big board, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Ferrell as the No. 17 overall player and Bryant as the No. 39 overall player in the 2018 NFL draft class.

Among defensive ends, Ferrell was second behind only NC State's Bradley Chubb, while Bryant was sixth.

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