Tigers work out for NFL personnel

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Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen runs Thursday after catching a pass during an NFL football pro-timing day event in Clemson, S.C.   MARK CRAMMER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
MARK CRAMMER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen runs Thursday after catching a pass during an NFL football pro-timing day event in Clemson, S.C.

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen and defensive end Andre Branch worked out for nearly four dozen pro personnel Thursday, including New York Jets coach Rex Ryan.

Allen, considered by the some top tight end available in April’s NFL Draft, chose Thursday not to try and improve his disappointing time of 4.89 seconds he ran at the league’s scouting combine two weeks ago in Indianapolis.

“I’m a ballplayer, flat out. I’m not a track guy,” Allen said Thursday after Clemson’s pro day. “My 40 time is what it is. If you watch me on film I play way faster. That’s all that matters.”

Allen and Branch, the Atlantic Coast Conference leader with 101/2 sacks this past season, were the top attractions for the 44 NFL personnel on hand.

Ryan, in a green Jets jacket, laughed and smiled with other NFL evaluators. He also worked out Branch for a few moments before he and Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum rushed off once the nearly four-hour session ended.

“I’ve got to be somewhere,” Ryan said as he left Memorial Stadium.

Both Allen and Branch are considered potential first-round selections for April’s draft.

Branch didn’t attempt to run the
40-yard dash again either, preferring to stand on his stellar time of 4.70 seconds from in February.

“I did great at the combine,” he said. “I felt like my numbers improved.”

There were 20 former Tigers, including ex-NFL linebacker Anthony Waters, who worked out. Along with the 40-yard dash, players were asked to do shuttle drills before breaking to position-specific tasks.

On the sidelines with Clemson football coaches and officials were a handful of former players currently on NFL rosters, such as Tampa Bay defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, Tennessee running back Jamie Harper and Indianapolis linebacker Kavel Connor.

Tigers coach Dabo Swinney expects that roster of NFL players from Clemson to grow next season.

“Heck, we have more NFL players here than prospects,” he said. “That’s awesome.”

Those watching the workouts also included a couple of current members of Clemson’s ACC Championship squad who’ll likely draw scouts in the next couple of years in record-setting quarterback Tajh Boyd and center Dalton Freeman. The Tigers opened spring football practice this past Wednesday.

“That’s the culture that you want to create and work really hard at fostering that,” Swinney said.

Branch said he’s spoken to about 20 NFL squads and will spend the next few weeks keeping in shape and interviewing with interested teams.

The main attraction, though, was Allen, the record-setting tight end who had 50 catches and eight touchdowns last season. Allen gave up his senior season to turn pro.

Allen doesn’t care where he goes.

“Hopefully, I’ll land on a team that’ll use me,” he said. “That’s all that matters.”


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