Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney welcomed nine freshmen midyear enrollees from the historic 2018 signing class to campus in January.
The group is tied for the biggest class of midyears for the Clemson program. Swinney also had nine midyear enrollees in 2015.
The nine newcomers began classes on Jan. 10 and can participate in Clemson’s spring practices, which start Feb. 28.
In the fourth installment of our Impact Freshmen series detailing Clemson’s early enrollees, The Clemson Insider looks at five-star wide receiver Derion Kendrick:
Hometown (High School): Rock Hill, S.C. (South Pointe)
Height, Weight: 6-1, 198
Prospect ratings/rankings: 5-star, No. 6 WR, No. 1 state, No. 30 national (Rivals); 5-star, No. 6 WR, No. 3 state, No. 30 national (247Sports); 4-star, No. 6 ATH, No. 1 state, No. 62 national (ESPN)
High school stats/accolades: Gatorade Player of the Year in South Carolina… Played at a South Pointe program that won the state championship each of the last four years… Kendrick played wide receiver as a sophomore and played quarterback the last two years… Completed 184-255 passes for 2,683 yards and 30 touchdowns against just six interceptions in 2017… Also had 119 rushes for 1,194 yards and 20 scores… So had 50 touchdowns rushing and passing… In state semifinal playoff game against Greer, Kendrick had seven touchdowns, five rushing and two passing… Rushed for 162 and completed 16-21 passes for 240 yards in that game… As a junior in 2016, completed 182 of 288 for 2,625 yards and 29 touchdowns against just six interceptions… Had 110 rushes for 488 yards and five scores… So had 59/12 touchdown/interception ratio his last two years… Had three touchdown receptions as a sophomore against Northwestern High School… Played in the Shrine Bowl for South Carolina as a wide receiver, he had a 52-yard touchdown reception… Played in U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio on Jan. 6… Won USA Today’s Super 25 Top Star for the week of Oct. 26-28 after accounting for four touchdowns in a game… Named a finalist for U.S. Army Player of the Year Award
Strengths: In Kendrick, Clemson got one of the most dynamic players in the country last recruiting cycle. Kendrick played both wide receiver and quarterback for South Pointe, and his versatile skill set is why he was highly sought after during the recruiting process by the likes of Florida, Florida State, Georgia and South Carolina. Kendrick can do it all. He will be a receiver at Clemson, but showcased a strong arm while playing quarterback. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound athlete is as smooth as they come, shifty and explosive. He can run by opponents, or make them miss, and he doesn’t shy away from contact with his sneaky power. He is fun to watch in the open field and has the ball skills to be a great member of “Wide Receiver U” in the future.
How he fits in: Kendrick will slot in at the “2” (field) receiver position for Clemson. With Ray-Ray McCloud having entered the NFL draft, rising sophomore Amari Rodgers is the next in line for the starting spot. But Kendrick will compete with rising junior Cornell Powell for playing time behind Rodgers. With his tremendous natural ability, Kendrick is a strong candidate to see action as a true freshman should he absorb the playbook and learn the offense. Enrolling early and going through spring practice will only aid him in that endeavor. Plus keep in mind, the further away from the snap of the ball you are, the easier the position is to learn on offense.
Coach speak: South Pointe head coach Strait Herron on Kendrick — “The biggest thing that I think they’ll get is a highly competitive athlete, and he’s versatile also. I think he’ll do really well. … He notices things, and he’ll notice what’s expected of him. I see him blossoming really quickly with them and just fitting right in.”
–Staff Reports contributed to this story
Previous installments in TCI’s Impact Freshmen series: