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2011 NFL Draft: Georgia Tech's Nick Claytor Declares For Draft

After losing four marquee players early to the NFL last season, there weren't any can't-miss prospects to leave early for the draft this year for Georgia Tech. The first declaration comes as a bit of a surprise, as offensive lineman Nick Claytor has entered his name and will be working to make it at the next level. 

Claytor started in 15 games in his time at Tech, and helped the Jackets lead the nation in rushing this season. He was one of the highest ranked offensive tackles coming out of high school, getting four stars from and being placed as the 15th best nationally at his position. Doug Roberson points out that as of yesterday, Claytor is one of only two offensive tackles that have declared early for the draft, the other being Tyron Smith of USC.

From Coley Harvey, Claytor said on Thursday that "I've got a good shot is what I've been told, and I'm going to take it."

The decision severely hurts Tech's offensive line for next year. The Jackets already will be without Sean Bedford and Austin Barrick, and now will be missing Claytor as well. 

Claytor was a prototypical offensive lineman for a pro-style offense. He stuck through the coaching change, and continued to dedicate his efforts for the new staff. For that he should be commended. 

"I signed on to Georgia Tech. I didn't sign on to an offense. I think it shows what kind of player I am. I was willing to stay, I was willing to sacrifice and I was willing to work harder than I ever have in my life," said Claytor. 

He enters the draft needing only 10 credits to graduate from Georgia Tech with a degree in Management. He is planning to finish the few remaining classes next year to get his degree.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.