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South Carolina's Kelcy Quarles to enter NFL draft, says father

Brad Barr / USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles has been the star of the Gamecocks' D-line this season.

Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles of South Carolina will forego his senior season to enter the 2014 NFL Draft, his father told gogamecocks.com.

"I think they all came to that conclusion," Buddy Quarles said of his son and the Gamecocks' coaching staff. "They had a good assumption that he's going to be leaving."

According to Buddy Quarles, coach Steve Spurrier told his son to walk with the seniors during Senior Day ceremonies before the Gamecocks' game against rival Clemson at the end of the season.

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Quarles (6-foot-4, 298 pounds) has arguably been the most productive defensive tackle in the SEC this season with seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Those figures lead the team in categories for which star junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was expected to set the pace. Instead, Quarles has flourished while Clowney has, by some accounts, languished. Clowney has made just two sacks on the year, although opposing offenses have game-planned away from him with some plays and double-teamed him on others.

Buddy Quarles had this to say about where his son may be picked: "I'm thinking in the first three (rounds), but I don't know right now."

Quarles has benefited from Clowney's presence by getting more one-on-one opportunities with Clowney occupying two blockers. He made two sacks against Missouri in his most impressive performance of the season.

College Football 24/7 named Clowney and Quarles as the SEC's top defensive-line tandem in the preseason.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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