CLEMSON, S.C. — Defensive end Myles Murphy will not play for No. 7 Clemson when it plays No. 6 Tennessee in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced Murphy elected to opt out of the game and will instead enter the 2023 NFL Draft. Swinney made the announcement prior to the start of bowl practice on Tuesday.
The Tigers’ coach also announced they will be without starting linebacker Trenton Simpson, too. He will not play due to an ankle injury he reinjured in the ACC Championship Game. Swinney says it will take about three weeks to heal, which is not enough time for Simpson to be ready to play in the Orange Bowl.
Simpson first injured his ankle prior to the Louisville game and did not play. He came back the following week against Miami and played in the South Carolina game as well. He reinjured the ankle against North Carolina, got it taped up and finished the game.
“Trenton is here, but he is hurt,” Swinney said when asked about his star linebacker. “Trenton is not going to be able to play, but it is not because he isn’t here or going pro or all that stuff. He can’t play.”
However, Murphy can play. The junior is just electing not to play, the first player in the Swinney era at Clemson to opt out of a bowl game.
“I think this the first time we ever had a guy opt out, maybe in 20 years since I have been at Clemson,” Swinney said. “I don’t remember anybody not playing.”
Murphy is the only Tiger currently on the roster that will not play in the Orange Bowl. Swinney did not have to do a lot of convincing to get the rest of the draft eligible players to play in the Orange Bowl.
“They are all out here. They all want to play. They are all excited about the bowl game,” he said. “Honestly, these are the experiences, when it is all said and done, they will remember, they will cherish. These times, these moments.
“But the culture is different. Things have changed. Society has changed. I think more (college football players) are not playing for whatever reason.”
As Swinney mentioned, that really has not been too big of an issue at Clemson. He used examples such as Gaines Adams in 2006, C.J. Spiller in 2009, DaQuan Bowers in 2010, DeAndre Hopkins in 2012, Sammy Watkins in 2013 and Vic Beasley and Stephone Anthony in 2014.
With the exception of Bowers, the others were taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Bowers was selected in the second round.
“To each is own. Certainly, as a head coach you want your best players. But at the end of the day, you just want to know who is ready to play, who is all in and get ready to go play,” Swinney said. “I don’t really spend any time worrying about it.
“But I do think, at least here, this game has been important to a lot of people. Guys have always chosen to play, but if they don’t. It is no big deal. Let’s go get the guys who have chosen to play and let’s go play.”