Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins announced Wednesday that he was leaving the team early and will declare for the 2023 NFL Draft. He told ESPN that he was grateful for the college experience.

“I’m thankful for Clemson,” Wiggins said. “They developed me into a wonderful man. Dabo (Swinney) and the whole coaching staff are so loving and pour out energy every day. They love everyone who goes through Clemson. They played a big part in my development.”

Wiggins does not intend to play in the Tigers’ bowl game. When asked why he was deciding to leave early, the junior cornerback was straightforward.

“I just feel like it was that time,” Wiggins said. “All the hard work I’ve put in, I feel like it was time for me to declare.”

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After a quiet freshman year, Wiggins started as a sophomore and slowly began to live up to his reputation as one of the best recruits at his position. He returned an interception for a touchdown in the 2022 ACC Championship game and played an integral role in the team’s win over North Carolina. In his junior season, he became a leader on the defense and secured two interceptions.

Many draft analysts have ranked Wiggins near the top of their boards at the cornerback position, with many speculating that he could go in the first round. The 6’2″ defender is eager to play at the professional level.

“I’m a cornerback who is going to lock down the best receiver and bring ball skills,” Wiggins said. “They’re going to get a hard worker, someone they can depend on and someone who can get the job done and love their teammates.”

Clemson had a disappointing start to the season but has slowly regained momentum and will certainly appear in a bowl game with an 8-4 record. The former national champions are still recruiting players like Wiggins, an encouraging sign as the team looks to continue building for future runs in the ACC.

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