In the last two seasons, Derion Kendrick led South Pointe High (Rock Hill, S.C.) to two state championships as the team’s starting quarterback.
This week, the Clemson commitment is seeing plenty of action at a different position as he prepares to play in the 81st-annual Shrine Bowl on Saturday.
Kendrick is lining up at receiver, the position he will play as a Tiger at the next level.
“It feels good,” Kendrick told The Clemson Insider on Monday following the first Shrine Bowl practice at Dorman High in Roebuck, S.C. “Just getting warmed up for the future.”
Kendrick (6-1, 190) shined Monday as practices for the Shrine Bowl got underway. He ran crisp routes and showed off his hands with a number of impressive catches. The defensive backs he faced had a tough time keeping up with his speed and explosiveness.
The top-ranked prospect in the Palmetto State said he has spent a lot of time working on his craft as a receiver.
“I work on my routes about every day,” Kendrick said. “Just go out and work by myself, have somebody throw the ball to me.”
Kendrick is enjoying the opportunity to go up against the best talent in the Carolinas.
“Lot of competition,” he said. “Lot of good players, so you get (a feeling) of what college is going to be like.”
After Saturday’s Shrine Bowl, Kendrick will sign with Clemson on Dec. 20. He will arrive on campus in January as an early enrollee.
If there is one word that defines Kendrick, it’s “winner.” He was part of a South Pointe program that won four straight state titles, a feat only five other teams in state history have accomplished.
Like Kendrick and South Pointe, Clemson isn’t used to losing. So Kendrick wants to do his part to uphold the Tigers’ winning tradition once he joins the team.
“I just want to keep the tradition going,” Kendrick said. “I know how to win, so I’ll carry that on to college and have that winning mindset.
“The Stallions (and Tigers), we think alike. Academics first, sports second, and winning. They just want to win in everything – the books and on the field.”
Kendrick was named Gatorade Player of the Year in South Carolina on Monday.
As a senior this season, Kendrick threw for 2,693 yards and 30 touchdowns against just six interceptions. He tallied another 1,195 yards and 19 scores on the ground while leading South Pointe to a 15-0 record and the Class 4A state championship.
The Shrine Bowl will kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.