In the months leading up to fall camp, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney thought his secondary had a chance to be really strong this coming season.
So far, just three days into camp, they are proving him right. Swinney went on and on about the back end of Clemson’s defense following Monday’s practice behind the Allen Reeves Football Complex in Clemson.
“We have a lot of versatility and flexibility with that back group at corner and safety,” he said.
Swinney is particularly pleased with the play of redshirt sophomore LeAnthony Williams, who was praised by his head coach in the spring as well.
“His first couple of years, he redshirted, and the first couple of years I don’t think he was very confident in himself,” the Tigers’ coach said. “And I don’t think he was very committed to how he had to compete. I am really pleased with him. He has just got more serious about it. He is a really important part of that group. We need those guys.”
Mario Goodrich is another guy Swinney says has taken things to another level so far.
“He just looks like he has been here a couple of years. He looks confident. He is playing fast. I am super pleased with him,” he said.
Swinney says freshmen corners Sheridan Jones and Andrew Booth are the real deal and are outstanding talents, while A.J. Terrell brings a lot of leadership to the unit with is work ethic and character.
Then there is Derion Kendrick, who continues to show the coaches why it was a good move to move him from wide receiver to cornerback.
“DK is just one of those guys that is just so competitive. Obviously, he is skilled. I think that group is really a good group,” Swinney said.
At safety, Swinney likes the overall attitude of his veteran players … Tanner Muse, K’Von Wallace, Nolan Turner and Denzel Johnson.
“It is the same thing at safety. This time last year, we were all crossing our fingers that Denzel and Nolan will come through for us. Wow! Did both of those guys come through in a big way,” Swinney said. “We think we have four guys that can start at safety without a doubt… It is just a really good group. It will be fun to watch it all play out.”