Clemson special teams coordinator Danny Pearman says freshman Derion Kendrick has done well returning kicks and is also returning punts for the second-ranked Tigers.
Kendrick came on in the spring and showed off his explosiveness as a wideout. The Tigers are also hoping the Rock Hill, S.C., native can help them in the return game as well.
“Kendrick has done a nice job working as a punter returner and also a kickoff returner,” Pearman said.
Amari Rodgers is also working at punt returns, along with Hunter Renfrow, Will Swinney, Mark Fields and K’Von Wallace. Rodgers appears to be the leader for Clemson at punt return with Renfrow and Kendrick backing him up.
Who will handle kickoffs? Pearman said he is not sure yet who will be in charge of handling kickoffs right now. He said Saturday’s scrimmage will go a long way into telling them who might be in the lead.
He did say Greg Huegel, Alex Spence and B.T. Potter will all get an opportunity to kick off in the stadium on Saturday. Clemson plans to do all live special teams in the team’s first scrimmage of fall camp at Death Valley.
There is a lot of seed on kick returns. Pearman reported Travis Etienne, Adam Choice, Tavien Feaster, Rodgers, Fields, Cornell Powell and of course Kendrick have all been returning kicks in camp.
“A lot of times with the guys back deep there is one primary guy and one blocker. The other guy may be a better blocker,” Pearman said. “You can scheme it each to the way you want, but all of those guys have been back there in some capacity.”
Freshmen that can contribute? There are a lot of the freshmen that have come in and have really good video on returning kicks and punts or covering kicks and punts. Pearman is impressed a lot with the defensive backs and the things he has seen in regards to special teams work. That gives the Tigers, according to Pearman, plenty of options to find a way to get the right guys on the field.
“Some of these freshmen are really, really dynamic,” Pearman said. “Probably with our team, and a lot of the kids on special teams, will be getting them to gel and getting the right chemistry to put out there.”
Guys to look out for on special teams. Pearman says Baylon Spector, Tre Lamar and Isaiah Simmons are guys you will see on special team that love doing it. He said they are the nucleus of the group.
He also mentioned Logan Rudolph is another player who has jumped out to him and is on several of the groups. Chad Smith is also on the coverage teams. When he gets back, Pearman says, linebacker James Skalski will also be in the mix covering punts and kicks.
Skalski has missed the first seven days of camp due to an injury.
“That is kind of your nucleus of guys and you just kind of go from there,” Pearman said.