The Clemson Insider gives a scouting report on every player on Clemson’s summer depth chart. We will break down what the player does best, what he needs to work on, how he compares to other former players at his position and where he fits on the Clemson roster.
Player name: Mark Fields (5-10, 180)
Player position: Cornerback (Field and boundary)
Years left of eligibility: 2 years
Current rank on depth chart: Second Team
Player productivity so far: Fields has been a consistent contributor through two seasons. He has 16 tackles in 397 snaps while playing in 26 games in his career. He has one career start. In 2016, he had 13 tackles, three pass breakups and an interception while playing in 13 games (one start). He returned his interception 42 yards for a touchdown in the Tigers’ win at Boston College.
What player does best: Fields is extremely competitive. He has good hands and very good speed. He can also be very physical, which is a plus for a cornerback playing in Brent Venables scheme.
What player needs to work on: Fields needs to work on his technique and leverage, especially with his on one-on-one man coverage skills.
Productivity of former Clemson players at the position (first year and last):
Cordrea Tankersley, 2016: He had 65 tackles, including six tackles for loss. He also led the team with 11 pass breakups and was second with four interceptions. His interception in the fourth quarter of the ACC Championship game sealed the Tigers’ win. He had two interceptions in the game.
Mackensie Alexander, 2014: He had 22 tackles, including two tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He also had six passes broken up. Rarely did he have the ball thrown on him. Went the last 10 weeks of the season without allowing a touchdown pass thrown on him.
Mackensie Alexander, 2015: He had 30 tackles, including two tackles for loss. He also had six passes broken up. He was a shutdown corner and rarely did opposing quarterbacks throw to his side. He went the entire season (15 games) without giving up a touchdown pass.
Bashaud Breeland, 2012: He had 32 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He had three passes broken up.
Bashaud Breeland, 2013: He had 74 tackles, including 5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 2 sacks. He also had a team-high 13 passes broken up and one quarterback pressure. He was tied for the team lead with 4 interceptions with a long of 29 yards.
What can you hope for? Fields’ attitude changed ahead of last season when he was motivated by an opportunity for significant playing time at corner opposite Cordrea Tankersley. He showed a new level of want-to and desire that led to him appearing in 13 games. He came on at the end of the season and showed his potential to be a good cover corner. Now, you hope that carries into this season.
What is a realistic expectation?Fields will have an opportunity to win the job on the field side and will definitely play a lot on both sides regardless if he wins the job or not. Of course all of that depends on his ability to stay healthy.
What about the future? A turf-toe injury suffered in the national title game limited Fields in the spring. He missed the last week of spring practice to give it an extra week of healing. It hasn’t helped his case to win one of Clemson’s starting cornerback jobs in what is a highly competitive battle, though he should be healthy by the time fall camp rolls around.