January 11, 1999
By PETE IACOBELLI AP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Guard Corey Hulsey on Friday became the second Clemson star to give up his senior year to turn pro.
Hulsey told the school he will skip his senior season, joining linebacker Rahim Abdullah in declaring for the NFL draft.
The 6-foot-7, 335-pound offensive lineman was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference member and would have been the Tigers’ only returnee up front.
“This was a difficult decision,” said Hulsey, who was home in Lula, Ga. He said he enjoyed Clemson, “but I think it is best for my future to turn professional.”
Recently, leaving early has become as much a Clemson tradition as Howard’s Rock or running down the hill into Death Valley.
Linebacker Anthony Simmons left after his junior season a year ago, while defensive lineman Trevor Pryce gave up his senior season in January, 1997.
Hulsey said his move had nothing to do with new coach Tommy Bowden, hired last month to replace Tommy West and revive Clemson after a 3-8 season.
Bowden said Hulsey, who started all but one of 23 games the past two years, would have been an important part of the offensive line next season. “Anytime you lose someone who was an all-conference player, it is a big loss,” the coach said.
Hulsey’s departure has been talked about for weeks. Although he waited until the NFL’s deadline day to decide, Hulsey missed Bowden’s team meeting Wednesday and was scheduled for a Florida vacation.
Hulsey joins a long list of draftable Tigers from a team that finished near the bottom of the ACC. Abdullah and cornerback Antwan Edwards are considered by some to be top-round selections. Late-round possibilities are Hulsey, center Jason Gamble and defensive lineman Adrian Dingle.
Bowden said NFL people he spoke with recommended that Hulsey stay for his final season at Clemson. Mike Detillier, who puts out the M&D Draft Report, said Hulsey was at best a fourth-round selection.
Bowden said the offensive line will be a focus during recruiting this month and in spring practice, which starts March 6.
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