CLEMSON -- Where Clemson tailback James Davis' mother failed, receiver Aaron Kelly's succeeded.
Spurning family wishes, Davis announced Tuesday he would forgo his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft.
Conversely, Kelly admittedly bowed to the influence of his mother, Janice, in electing to return for his senior year.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to render their final decisions, but Clemson's draft damage appears set.
Davis and defensive end Phillip Merling stand as the lone defections among players who sought draft projections.
Merling, pegged as high as a second-round pick, has yet to stage an announcement but has already made arrangements to train in Florida.
"I wanted all six diamonds back," Bowden said. "But we have some unpolished stones coming in, and if you wash those off, there might be another diamond."
During a meeting with Davis late Tuesday, Bowden expressed disappointment in the decision but was less abrasive than Davis anticipated. While Bowden requested Davis merely consult NFL general managers before making his final call, Davis said there is likely no turning back.
After expressing his desire to return for most of the year, Davis said his decision hinged on two primary factors.
First, he was on pace to graduate in May 2009, so even if he came back, he would not have gotten his diploma before leaving for pro workouts next January.
Then it came down to the simple fact the NFL was his dream, and Davis -- slotted as high as a third-rounder -- did not figure another season would significantly help his draft stock.
He can therefore help financially care for his family, including his 1-year-old daughter, Jakia, who is OK after being hospitalized for a minor illness -- the reason Davis said he missed Tuesday's team meeting.
Davis said his announcement was delayed because he needed two lengthy sitdowns with his mother, Theresa, to help her understand the move. She does not like to fly and hoped to have another year to enjoy the college game atmosphere.
"You have to look at your life and what you want to do with your future," Davis said, adding that his role in Clemson's offense had no impact on his departure.
Like Davis, Kelly had his heart set on the NFL when he went to bed Tuesday. But like so many such draft cases, Kelly showed there is a difference between leaning toward leaving and likely to leave.
Remembering Janice's emotional plea the previous night, Kelly called her twice Wednesday before meetings with receivers coach Dabo Sweeney and Bowden.
Kelly believed he could overcome the risk of leaving as a projected fourth-rounder by impressing NFL scouts at pre-draft workouts. Janice didn't buy the gamble.
"She went out and got her own information and said some things that meant a lot to her," Kelly said. "I felt like I was going against her. I've never done that in my life, and why start now?"
n VINCENT UPDATE -- Linebacker Cortney Vincent's court case might not be resolved anytime soon.
Vincent, charged with DUI Dec. 9, has requested a jury trial, a Seneca Magistrate Court official said, and a trial date will not be established for months. Vincent's original court date was set for Wednesday.
n EXTRA POINTS -- Safety Michael Hamlin received good news when his left knee injury was diagnosed as a sprain and not a torn medial collateral ligament. Hamlin should be available for offseason workouts later this month. ... Five of Clemson's six early enrollees are on campus, with Blythewood receiver Marquan Jones slated to arrive next week.