When Dabo Swinney got the idea to move wide receiver Derion Kendrick to cornerback in the spring, it was due to so many of the position’s players being banged up. They did not have enough bodies to practice at the time.
Kendrick was supposed to help the Clemson secondary for maybe a few days or so, instead he stayed the rest of spring practice. By the end of the spring, defensive coordinator Brent Venables said Kendrick would be his starter at field corner if the season started on that day.
Here is a look at Clemson’ depth chart at field corner heading into fall practice.
Derion Kendrick, So., 6-0, 195 pounds: On his first day at corner, Swinney had graduate assistant coach Xavier Brewer tell Kendrick the plays and what coverage he was supposed to be in. By the end of the spring, Kendrick had it down. The coaches say he still has some work to do as far as technique and things of that nature, but overall, he is natural at the corner position and he will be the guy to beat for the starting job when fall camp begins. Swinney still plans to switch things up and have Kendrick play at wide receiver too because he brings so much to the table on offense. He will also be the Tigers’ starting punt returner due to Amari Rodgers’ ACL injury.
Kyler McMichael, So., 6-0, 200 pounds: McMichael is a big, strong, physical corner who has the skills to hang with today’s brand of wide receivers. Was banged up a lot in the spring but finished with five tackles in the spring game. McMichael played in 12 games as a true freshman last year. He played a season-high 28 snaps against Syracuse when he came in for an injured Trayvon Mullen. He held his own against some talented Syracuse wide receivers, while recording his first tackle on the season. It was valuable experience that gave the coaches confidence he can play with anybody whenever called upon.
Andrew Booth, Fr., 6-1, 180 pounds: Booth has not stepped foot on campus yet, but he is considered to be a contender to start at field corner this fall. Again, he is a tall and very physical corner who is known for his ability to not only run with wide receivers, but highpoint the ball very well, too. Booth was a 5-star cornerback who was ranked among the top 50 players in the nation by every recruiting service. He ranked as the No. 8 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com, the highest-ranked Clemson signee in the 2019 class by that service. A three-year starter at Archer High School in Dacula, Georgia, Booth had 162 career tackles, including 131 solo. He also had 13 interceptions, 44 passes defensed, four caused fumbles and a blocked field goal. As a junior, he was all-state, all-region, all-county first team. He was the Region Specialist of the Year as a senior and the county Defensive Back of the Year. A team captain, he was selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game.