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Xavier Nwankpa included Clemson in his top seven schools. (Xavier Nwankpa/Twitter)

Tigers Today

Tigers Today: Top safety in nation includes Clemson in final seven schools

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Xavier Nwankpa includes Clemson in final seven schools

The top safety in the country in the class of 2022 released his final seven schools Saturday on Twitter and the Tigers made the list.

Rated by 247Sports as the No. 1 safety and a top-15 recruit in his class,  Xavier Nwankpa included Clemson along with Iowa, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Arizona State.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound defensive back from Southeast Polk (Altoona, Iowa) made 41 tackles this past fall as a junior. He tallied six interceptions, returning two for a touchdown. Nwankpa has visits scheduled next month with Ohio State on June 4, Texas A&M on June 11 and Notre Dame on June 18.

The Tigers offered Nwankpa back in November. They still don’t have a defensive commit and only four total commitments.

Three Clemson products sign undrafted free-agent deals

Three former Tigers inked deals following the NFL Draft on Saturday.

Offensive lineman Gage Cervenka graduated from Clemson in 2019 and was an second-team All-ACC selection but went undrafted. He held a Pro Day workout last month with Jackson Carman, however, and signed a contract Sunday with the Chicago Bears. He played 1,479 snaps over 46 career games.

Linebacker Shaq Smith played with the Tigers for two seasons before transferring to Maryland after the 2018 season. He signed an undrafted free-agent deal with the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. During his time at Clemson, he recorded 29 tackles and an interception.

Xavier Kelly, who played three seasons with the Tigers, inked an undrafted contract with the Baltimore Ravens. The defensive tackle had 23 tackles and a forced fumble at Clemson, before deciding to transfer to Arkansas for his final collegiate season.

Cornell Powell headed to Kansas City

Cornell Powell could have left Clemson. Now he’s headed to the NFL as a fifth-round pick.

A former four-star recruit, he logged only 40 catches in his first four seasons of college. He could’ve used his final season of eligibility to go somewhere that assured him playing time. He opted to stay put, becoming a real difference-maker for the Tigers in 2020, finishing his final season second in receptions while landing on NFL draft boards.

Powell now has a chance to expand on his breakout season at the next level. The dynamic Clemson wide receiver was taken with the 181st overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday. With Powell’s name being called, Clemson’s seen 11 wide receivers drafted since the 2013 NFL Draft, the most of any school.

He goes from Trevor Lawrence as his quarterback to NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. Not too shabby.

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