For most teams, losing a player like Trayvon Mullen, a second-round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders this past April, would be a big loss. However, most schools don’t recruit to the level Clemson has.
Mullen’s replacement in the starting lineup right now belongs to sophomore Derion Kendrick, who moved over in the spring from wide receiver as a trial run and then flourished, coming out of the spring as the starter at field-side corner.
But two true freshmen are pushing Kendrick for the spot in camp. Through the first four practices, defensive coordinator Brent Venables has been pleased with what he has seen from Sheridan Jones and Andrew Booth.
Jones enrolled at Clemson back in January and quickly caught his coaches’ attention in spring practice. He concluded the spring with a nice afternoon in the spring game, including a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Over the summer, Jones got himself in an even better position to compete, gaining 23 pounds of muscle.
“Sheridan had already established himself in the spring and showed he is a guy that really looks to be focused about his business,” Venables said. “He has toughness and competitiveness. He then goes from 160 to 183 and benches 225 once to 13 times, he has put in the work.
“He has showed back up again.”
Booth, a former 5-star and the top prospect Clemson signed in the 2019 Class, arrived at Clemson this summer and has not disappointed.
“Andrew is a very talented player and he has jumped right in and has shown physicality, instincts, ball skills. He is a tough guy,” Venables said.
Besides the two freshman and Kendrick, the Tigers also have talented players like Mario Goodrich and LeAnthony Williams who have both received praise from both Venables and head coach Dabo Swinney.
Then of course there is All-ACC candidate and leader of the unit, A.J. Terrell, starting on the boundary side of the field.
The Tigers will continue camp today as they break out full pads for the first time.