Through the first seven games of the season last year, Mark Fields was finally where he wanted to be. With Marcus Edmond injured, the Charlotte, N.C., native took advantage of his opportunity and became a starter.
With 20 tackles and two passes broken up through the first six games of the year, Fields was having a good season. Then adversity hit, again.
Against Syracuse, the wheels came out from under him, literally. Fields injured his foot that night in the Carrier Dome and never recovered. The Clemson cornerback missed each of the last eight games of the season.
“It’s frustrating,” Clemson defensive backs coach Mike Reed said while describing how he felt for Fields. “The kid has been here three years and he wants to play and he has an opportunity to play and the next thing you know, he can’t play. So it is like having the game taken away from you.”
Fields tried to return for the Tigers’ Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama, but in bowl practice he re-aggravated the foot and was held out. Reed said he felt for his veteran corner, but he was proud of the way he carried himself through all of it.
“He has handled it well,” the Clemson coach said. “There have been some ups and downs, but being in this situation was new to him. He had never been in this situation where he had to sit on the sideline for a long extend period of time where he could not compete or participate.”
Fields came back in the spring healthier and more determined than before. He will enter fall camp sharing the starting position with sophomore A.J. Terrell, who also had a good spring.
The two are battling it out to be the starter at the field corner position.
In his three-year career so far at Clemson, Fields has played in 36 games and has started five of them. He has tallied 36 tackles, has five tackles for loss, an interception and seven passes broken up.
His only interception came at Boston College during Clemson’s national championship season when he returned it 42 yards for a touchdown in the 56-10 victory.
Fields and the rest of the Tigers will begin fall camp on Aug. 2.
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