Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins has declared for the NFL Draft, he announced on Instagram Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Wiggins, a 6-foot-2 junior from Atlanta, is Dane Brugler’s top-ranked cornerback and the No. 14 overall player in the 2024 NFL Draft.
- He has 22 tackles with two interceptions, two forced fumbles and six pass breakups for the Tigers this season.
- Wiggins told ESPN he will skip Clemson’s bowl game to prepare for the draft.
Wiggins is long and fast with the sudden feet to easily redirect and stay attached to routes. There are a few concerning areas of his game, most notably his marginal play strength, but Wiggins (one INT, four passes defended) shows a knack for playing through the hands of receivers.
Though he gave up a touchdown in his return from injury against Miami on Oct. 21, he also had a pair of pass breakups and an impressive chase-down forced fumble. — Brugler
How Wiggins fared at Clemson
Wiggins came to Clemson as a four-star prospect out of Atlanta in the Class of 2021 and was a mainstay in the secondary by his sophomore season. He earned first-team All-ACC honors in consecutive seasons and quickly emerged as one of the most dominant lockdown corners in college football. The Tigers have the nation’s No. 5 passing defense this season and have held opponents to 162.2 passing yards per game with Wiggins leading the way. This is the right decision for the projected first-rounder.
Wiggins had one memorably bad game, against Wake Forest, during his sophomore season when the Demon Deacons picked on Clemson’s secondary, but he quickly turned the page and proved those struggles would be the exception to the norm. He made arguably the biggest play of his Clemson career against North Carolina earlier this month, when he chased UNC running back Omarion Hampton downfield from 64 yards behind to force a fumble at the goal line. In his pursuit of Hampton, Wiggins reached a whopping 22.1 miles per hour. Clemson has produced its fair share of NFL defensive backs, but Wiggins will go down as one of the most dominant secondary players of the Dabo Swinney era. — Grace Raynor, staff college football writer
How his game translates to the NFL
Wiggins has a rare combination of length and speed that will make him a hot commodity for any NFL team in need of some help on the back end. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder is long, lengthy and isn’t afraid to be physical. Topping 22 miles per hour earlier this season proves just how fast he is, and he isn’t afraid to make the extra-effort play either. He is the first Clemson player since 1977-78 to score on an interception return in consecutive seasons, and appears ready for this moment. — Raynor
(Photo: Michael Reaves / Getty Images)