Trio of Tigers selected to suit up for Senior Bowl

Three members off the Atlantic division champion Clemson Tigers will team up together one final time in the 2012 Senior Bowl.

Defensive tackle Brandon Thompson, defensive end Andre Branch and fullback Chad Diehl have all officially accepted invitations to the senior showcase event.

The 63rd Senior Bowl is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The game and all practices will be televised by NFL Network.

“We feel like we’ve identified three outstanding players in Brandon, Andre and Chad,” Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale said. “All three offer a unique skill set that should make them very attractive to the NFL scouts, coaches and GMs here in attendance later this month.”

Thompson was a second-team All-ACC selection after posting 77 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a team-tying-high 18 quarterback pressures. He had a season-high nine stops against Georgia Tech this year and finished fourth on the team in tackles. The Thomasville, Ga., native notched 208 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 47 quarterback hurries, nine pass breakups, two caused fumbles and three recovered fumbles in 38 career starts.

Branch was a first-team All-ACC pick in 2011 after leading the Tigers in tackles for loss (17) and sacks (10.5), marks that ranked third and first in the conference, respectively. The defensive end was second on the team in tackles (85) and also recorded 17 quarterback hurries. He is tied for fourth in school history with 17.5 career sacks and made at least one tackle in 41 straight games. Branch leaves Clemson with 197 tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss 40 quarterback hurries and 11 pass breakups in 27 career starts.

Diehl helped open holes for Clemson running back Andre Ellington to gain 1,178 yards this season. He also played a key role in a Clemson offense that ranked second in the ACC in total offense, averaging 440.8 yards per game. Primarily used as a blocker out of the backfield, Diehl did gain eight yards on six carries and added another 39 yards on seven catches in 19 career starts. He played in a school-record 57 games for the Tigers.

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