Future looks bright on the defensive line
It has only been four practices this spring, but the great comparisons continue for freshman wide receiver Derion Kendrick.
The Rock Hill, S.C., native was compared to former Tiger great Sammy Watkins last week by co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott. On Monday, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney gave his thoughts on the state of South Carolina’s No. 1 prospect from the 2018 Class.
“I think that is kind of fair,” Swinney said after practice. “He has that type of explosiveness. He is tough. That guy has a great edge to him that sometimes is not always present when you go recruit a receiver. He played quarterback like a linebacker.”
Because he is so tough, Kendrick, who enrolled in school in January, reminds Swinney of another Clemson great wide receiver … Deandre Hopkins.
“He is a lot like Nuk,” Swinney said. “DK is faster than Nuk, but you knew when you stepped on the field with him you were fixing to go against the most competitive guy on the practice field. DK has a lot of that in him.
“That is something that has jumped out at me these first four days. He is highly, highly competitive.”
Swinney says Kendrick takes to being tough naturally. He likes to block. He likes to get physical.
“He likes it salty. He is my kind of guy,” Swinney said. “He has to develop as a receiver, the transition and all of that. But he will. He has great ball skills and I knew that because we had him in camp. I knew he had great ball skills and unbelievable explosiveness, but what I like about him the most is that he is coachable.
“He likes to be coached. He does not mind for you to correct him and things like that because we have a lot to correct. He is supposed to be running a post and he is running a nine route so we have a lot to teach with him, but he is going to be a great player.”
The D-Line’s future looks bright. Right now, Clemson’s defensive line is arguably the best in the country, especially with return of All-Americans Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant. However, the future looks just as good.
Swinney reports redshirt freshman Jordan Williams stood out in practice Monday at defensive tackle, as did redshirt freshman Logan Rudolph at defensive end. The Tigers’ head coach also likes what he has seen out of true freshmen Xavier Thomas, K.J. Henry, Josh Belk and Darnell Jefferies through four practices.
Feaster is slimming down. At 5-foot-11, 220-pounds, Tavien Feaster wants to slim down a little bit before the season get started in September. Swinney says the sophomore’s weight is really not the issue, but more the composition of the weight.
“That is the thing, I think, that has taken him a little while to buy into,” the Clemson coach said. “If we are going to be 220, that is great but let’s make sure it is the right composition. Bigger is not always better. It is how you get there.
“So, I think he has really bought into that.”
Swinney says Feaster is off to a good start this spring and that he is really pleased with him.
“He is, I think, getting serious about that aspect of his game. His greatest asset is his body, but everything is tied together. But, it all starts with that. His endurance, his explosiveness, you name it. I think he gets that.
“He is leaning up a little bit, but the main thing is taking ownership and buying into what has been made available to him.”