After a breakout game against Alabama for the National Champsionship Kevin Dodd has opted to forgo his senior year at Clemson and enter the NFL Draft in April. Dodd made the announcement earlier today.

After speaking with my family, I have decided to apply for early entry into the 2016 NFL draft. Leaving Clemson is an extremely tough decision, but I truly feel like I am physically and mentally ready for the next challenge. We had an amazing season. I am so proud of what we accomplished, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to play football here at Clemson. Thank you to my coaches, especially Coach (Dabo) Swinney, Coach (Brent) Venables and Coach (Marion) Hobby for all they have done for me. Thank you to my teammates and all of the academic and athletic staff here at Clemson as well. I will be staying in Clemson this spring in order to complete my degree and graduate this coming May. Clemson football has given me opportunities I never thought were possible. I am so proud to be a Tiger and will always be a Tiger! Clemson is truly a special place—thank you for everything.

Dodd had a good year for Clemson but really wasn’t on many mock drafts until his dominant performance against the Tide earlier this week. The big defensive end registered three sacks against what was thought to be the best offensive line in college football. Dodd terrorized Bama QB Jake Coker all night. Having a monster game on the biggest stage likely nudged him into the draft where he can strike while the iron is hot.

NFL teams tend to rate pass rushers higher than other positions and it’s thought that Dodd could go as high as the second round in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was consistent all season after finally breaking into the starting lineup. But Dodd really showed up in big games. Like the game against Alabama Dodd blew up against Notre Dame early in the season wreaking havoc in the backfield and getting two sacks on the night.

A team like the 49ers might draft Dodd in the second round. Joey Bosa is considered the best pass rusher in the draft but a team like San Fransisco that is trying to rebuild their defense could lock in on the Clemson defender early.