Clemson freshman Derion Kendrick continues to turn heads in spring practice.
Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott gave him high praise following a practice last week, while wide receiver Hunter Renfrow also likes what he has seen from the freshman so far.
“DK reminds me of Sammy — it’s just a different gear,” Elliott said. “When he moves and takes off the line, he just moves at a different speed… DK is a guy early on, coming right out of the gate that is really pushing these guys athletically.”
Renfrow says the freshman from Rock Hill, S.C., is very twitchy and reminds him a lot of Ray-Ray McCloud.
“He is incredibly fast,” Renfrow said. “He has a lot to learn, but at the same time you can tell he is going to be a great player. From my first initial look, from just looking at him, he is a lot like Ray-Ray as far as the shiftiness of him.”
Besides playing the field position at wide receiver, Kendrick is also working at punt return, where he has seen time back there with Renfrow.
“I don’t think he dropped any,” Renfrow said. “He looked very natural catching it. He and I both have to work on getting our feet up underneath it, but he caught a few over the top. He is just raw, but when he starts to figure it out, he is going to be really, really good.”
Hearing Elliott compare the freshman to Watkins, however, is the biggest eye-opener of the spring so far. Watkins, who is now playing with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, hauled in 240 catches during his three-year career at Clemson for 3,391 yards and a school-record 27 touchdown receptions.
Watkins finished his career as Clemson’s first three-time First-Team All-American and was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
“Just his explosiveness … When he comes off the line, there are some guys you just know it,” Elliott said. “Some guys just have some different attributes, and that’s the thing that you see with Derion. It’s easy for him to run, he’s very explosive.
“As we get deeper into spring ball and have more installation, we’ll see if he’s able to maintain that explosiveness and that speed and playing fast.”
One thing Renfrow has already noticed about Kendrick, which is very similar to Watkins as well, is his attitude.
“The good thing too is that he is coachable and he had a good attitude, too,” Renfrow said.