Clelin Ferrell’s story has been told so many times, the important parts start to feel like bullet points on a resume. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. Parents met in the military. One of nine children. Lost his father to cancer in high school. Spurned the NFL Draft to come back to Clemson for one more year and win another national championship.
As Ferrell has gone through the ringer that is the NFL Draft process, he’s been poked and prodded by countless media outlets and NFL teams alike that his tale has started to feel like a script for a television show pilot.
“Trust me, you find out a lot about yourself,” Ferrell said. “It’s funny, everyone wants to know who you are as a person. So through that, you really have time to think, like, ‘Oh, OK, I really am this type of person!’ When you’re playing football in college, you have no time to just self-reflect on things. But now, I’ve had more time to really self-reflect.”
As a member of a stacked defensive line from Clemson that featured names like Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins, Ferrell probably places third in that group in terms of name recognition. But the three-year starter for the Tigers has methodically climbed up draft boards after racking up 11.5 sacks in 2018, to the point where he’s widely expected to be taken in middle of the first round or higher on Thursday night in Nashville.
As he waits to find out where he’ll begin his professional career, Ferrell spoke with UPROXX on behalf of Hyundai about what these past few months have been like, how he turned himself into an elite pass rusher and his plans for Trevor Lawrence once the Clemson phenom reaches the NFL.