Cornell Powell has not been moved to safety, but the Clemson coaches definitely got a good look at the rising junior at that position this spring.
Due to a lack of depth in the secondary, especially after Nolan Smith was injured, Powell worked a little bit at safety just to see how he would do.
At the IPTAY Prowl & Growl event in Charleston this past Thursday, The Clemson Insider asked head coach Dabo Swinney how Powell looked when he took reps at safety this spring.
“Not sure how you know that. I’m going to have to tighten practice down a little bit,” Swinney joked. “He did fine. He was a guy… We were really thin at safety when Nolan got hurt, so we just took him and put him over there and see how he did.”
Clemson has had some success moving a wide receiver to safety in the past. T.J. Green came to Clemson as a wide receiver, but moved over to safety and became an All-ACC player in 2015 and is now a starting safety for the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL.
Powell has the athletic ability to play the safety position. The 6-foot, 200-pound speedster played basketball in high school where he averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds per game. He had 1,310 points and 604 rebounds during his four years in high school.
“We did some individual with him, did some skelly with him, and he did great,” Swinney said. “He’s a natural athlete. I think we could probably take the great majority of them (the receivers) and move them and they would have a chance because they’re great athletes.”
During his first two seasons at wide receiver, Powell has caught 20 passes for 145 yards and scored one touchdown which came this past season. He has played in 23 games overall in his Clemson career, mostly on special teams.