December 10, 1998
CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson outside linebacker Rahim Abdullah announced Thursday afternoon that he will give up his senior year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. The native of Jacksonville, FL was a second-team All-ACC performer this past season for the Tigers. He contacted Clemson Coach Tommy Bowden this morning to inform him of his decision.
Abdullah will be the third Clemson defensive player in the last three years to enter the NFL draft with a year of eligibility. Last year Anthony Simmons entered the draft after his junior season and was a first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks. Trevor Pryce turned pro a year early after the 1996 season and was taken in the first round by the Denver Broncos. Both players are now starting in the NFL.
Abdullah had 89 tackles this past season, fourth best on the team. He tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with 15 and was second in sacks with 7.5. He concluded his career in the top 15 in school history in both tackles for loss and sacks. He had three returns for touchdown in his Clemson career, a record tying effort.
Abdullah came on strong to close the 1998 season. Over the last five games he had 53 tackles, including a career high 15 stops at Florida State. He had at least one tackle for loss in 10 of the 11 games this season.
“This was a difficult decision,” said Abdullah, who entered Clemson in 1995 and red-shirted that season. “Coming to Clemson was a great decision, I loved playing here. This is a great place and I have enjoyed being a part of the Clemson family, but I think it is time for me to enter the NFL draft.
“My mother has been working two jobs and as the oldest son it is time for me to provide for my family. I contacted the NFL Players Association and received some positive feedback.”
Abdullah is ranked among the top 20 prospects for the draft according to many analysts.
“I talked with both Anthony Simmons and Trevor Pryce about coming out early. They said if I was ready to make the move to go ahead. They did tell me the first year is difficult.
“The change in coaching staff has nothing to do with this decision. I have known coach (Tommy) Bowden for a few years, he recruited me for Auburn and was in my home when I was in high school. He is a great coach and will do a tremendous job here.”
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