Clemson safety Jayron Kearse had another year of eligibility remaining but opted to enter the NFL Draft.

Of course, it helped that the NFL Draft Advisory Board gave Kearse a second-round grade.

“I got a good grade, I felt like I did everything I had to do at Clemson, and I also felt like I was the best safety in the nation,” Kearse said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “So me coming out is all about me taking that next step with the guys I came in with, competing with those guys again like I did coming into college. That’s really all it was about – just me ready to take that next step and go out and prove that I’m the best.”

Even with a high draft grade, though, Kearse said it was a difficult decision.

“I left great teammates, great coaches, a great university, just coming off a national champ run – so it’s always a tough decision that you have to make, deciding to leave early,” Kearse said. “But I felt like I made (the best decision).”

Kearse, at 6-4, 216 pounds, has great size for a safety. Some, in fact, think Kearse should gain some weight and become a linebacker.

The Fort Myers, Florida, native disagrees.

“I am who I am,” he said. “I’m 6-4 and I’m going to be a great safety at the end of the day. So when people say those types of things, I ignore those types of things.  Ultimately, they don’t know what it takes. I know what it takes to go out there and do what I have to do to be great.”

Kearse believes he can play both safety and cornerback in the NFL.

“I feel like I can play anything,” he said. “I feel like I’m versatile enough, I’m a smart enough player that I can go out there and play anything. So if a team needed me to play corner, I feel like I can go out there and be a Pro Bowl corner, just like I can go out there and be a Pro Bowl safety.”


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