Dec 29, 2018; Arlington, TX, United States; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Dexter Williams (2) runs with the ball past Clemson Tigers linebacker Tre Lamar (57) in the 2018 Cotton Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson’s Lamar, Bryant hope to improve draft status while injured

Two players from Georgia bound for NFL 

Lamar, who was injured on the bench press at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, and Bryant, who had pectoral surgery in January, are both projected NFL draft picks. The draft is set for April 25-27 in Nashville. 

Lamar starred at Roswell High, and Bryant is from South Georgia-powerhouse Thomas County Central.

“The biggest thing that everybody told me is to make sure that you’re in the best shape of your life,” Lamar said. “Going through these drills, you have to stay mentally sharp and physically sharp. Once you go pro, it becomes your job. Having a job is making sure you are in the best shape to do your job.”

Lamar completed his Clemson career with 159 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks.

“Tre did great,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “I don’t know all of the times. He’s coming off of an injury from the combine. He was able to do some of the things.”

Lamar, who is 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, has to find a position in the NFL, which has moved to smallish, 230-pound linebacker like the Falcons’ Deion Jones.  

“He’s a mountain of a man,” Swinney said. “He’s a great football player. He can play football in any era of football. He’s one of those rare guys that you find with his combination of size, speed and skill. He’s going to do well no matter what.” 

NFL teams are trying to find a spot for Lamar. 

“Inside, outside, off the ball, over the tight end,” Lamar said of places he’s worked out. “All kinds of stuff. I’m just trying to show that I can come off the edge and that I’m a three-down player. I have to show that I can stay on that field on third down, too.”

Although he was injured, Lamar tried to impress teams with his football acumen. 

“You hear from the older (Clemson) guys about how prepared you are coming out, but you don’t know firsthand until you go to the combine and see the guys and see where you stack up,” Lamar said. “I felt like I was completely prepared for the combine. Any questions anybody I asked, I felt like I had the answer to. I felt great.”

Lamar, who was named the Class AAAAAA defensive player of the year by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the 2015 high school season, stays in touch with several of his teammates from the state-runner-up team. 

“I still keep a close relationship with my teammates from Roswell,” Lamar said. “Being able to come to this level and be a light for those guys who are younger than me, they can get to this level, too. 

“It’s possible because you are from Roswell doesn’t mean you can’t reach the heights that everybody is reaching. I just feel like I’m just trying to be a good role model for them.”

Bryant played most of last season with a torn pectoral muscle that required game-day injections. 

“If I could walk, I was going to be out on the field,” Bryant said.

He was injured in the second series of the ninth game of the season against Louisville. He fought through four regular-season games and two playoff games. 

“First of all, I was very limited in practice when it happened,” Bryant said. “I had to go through the week feeling the pain just because you can’t get a shot every single day for practice. So before games, of course, I got a Toradol shot just to mask the pain.

“Kind of covered it up, and then my adrenaline kicked in.”

After the games the pain would return. 

“Throughout the course of the season, the later that we got, I couldn’t even feel it any more,” Bryant said. “Then I finally had surgery on it. It was a struggle, but it was worth it. It was all worth it.”

Bryant is hopeful that NFL teams like the video review of his play. 

“I put two years of good film out there,” Bryant said. “At the end of the day, I don’t think a team will draft a guy because of what he did in underwear and shorts.”

Teams have been impressed that he played six games with a torn muscle. 

 “It’s actually been a plus for them to see a guy play with a torn pec at my position,” Bryant said. “You can see me use that arm because I’m a left end and I tore my right pec. So they actually thought it was really great. My stats went up after that injury. That is more of a positive than a negative.”

Bryant holds hope that he will get to conduct a special workout for teams.  

“ It just depends on what my doctor says after he sees me in the next couple of weeks,” Bryant said. “Full-time 100 percent (recovery) is six months. That will be like June. Training camp.”

Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell (99), Dexter Lawrence (90) and Austin Bryant celebrate after a sack against South Carolina.

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