By Justin Jarrett
Nyles Pinckney went into his senior season at Clemson knowing he would have a decision to make about his future in January, and he has made up his mind — the former Whale Branch standout is moving on.
Pinckney, a graduate student at Clemson, confirmed Tuesday that he has entered the NCAA transfer portal, giving him the chance to play his final collegiate season elsewhere.
Pinckney’s former Whale Branch teammate Dee Delaney took a similar path, playing his final season at Miami (Fla.) after three seasons at The Citadel.
The question heading into the season was whether Pinckney would get the opportunity to raise his NFL Draft stock after entering his senior campaign with 71 tackles (10.5 for loss), two sacks, a forced fumble and two recoveries over 43 career games and 13 starts.
After starting only two games and collecting 24 tackles (three for loss) and one sack (he also had a rushing touchdown) in 11 games for the Tigers, Pinckney likely would have been a late-round draft pick or free-agent signing and a longshot to make an NFL roster.
But the COVID-19 pandemic and the NCAA’s decision to grant all players an extra year of eligibility put another option on the table for Pinckney, who said he doesn’t yet know where he will end up next season.
There should be no shortage of suitors.
Pinckney had a solid career for the Tigers, finishing with 95 tackles and some memorable plays, including a tackle for loss on a fake field goal attempt in the national championship win against Alabama two years ago, and was a third-team All-ACC selection a year ago.