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Clemson DB Jayron Kearse intends to enter 2016 draft

Clemson safety Jayron Kearse has declared for the 2016 NFL Draft, joining a growing list of Tigers that are intending on early draft entry rather than returning to the College Football Playoff runner-up Tigers.

"I'm thankful for everything I've been given the opportunity to achieve here, but after sitting down and talking to support staff and my family I think it's in my best interest to take the next step in my career and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft," Kearse said in a statement he posted via social media. "I think the NFL is what I need to take my game to the next level and that's why I ultimately made the decision I've made."

Kearse told College Football 24/7 on Saturday that he received a second-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, and was pleased with the feedback.

Kearse (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) is the nephew of former Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans pass rusher Jevon Kearse. He made 62 tackles for the ACC champions last year with 6.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and one interception. He joins Clemson defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd, safety T.J. Green and linebacker Travis Blanks as early-entry applicants, while cornerback Mackensie Alexander is considering early entry as well.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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