Since the spring, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has said over and over again how impressed he is with his secondary, in particular his young defensive backs.
Following Wednesday’s scrimmage at Death Valley, Swinney brought up the name of Malcolm Greene several times, and for good reason. The true freshman had two of the defense’s three interceptions.
“Malcolm Greene is probably as good as we’ve signed,” he said afterward. “The guy just gets it. He knows how to play the game, he’s fast, he’s physical, he understands technique, and a very multiple player – he could play anywhere, he really could. He’s more of a true corner than K’Von [Wallace], but he’s a lot like K’Von.
“He’s a true corner but he can play the boundary, he can play the field. He can play nickel, he can play dime, he can play safety – he can play anything. But he’s got a great knack for special teams. He’s an excellent finisher on the ball and knows how to stay in phase and just does some things naturally that sometimes takes guys a little bit longer. And then physically, he’s in such a great spot.”
Following Thursday’s practice, sophomore Andrew Booth cited Greene as well, and also mentioned fellow freshmen Fred Davis, Tyler Venables and R.J. Mickens as other guys who have all played well in practice.
“They are catching on to the game at a fast pace and making plays,” the Clemson corner said. “They make a lot of plays. They are definitely ahead of their times as young guys.”
Like Greene, Booth said Davis is playing with a lot of confidence, more than he did in the spring. Booth said the true freshman was shy and was having a hard time coming out of his shell. But now he is flying around, confident and having a good time in practice.
“He is getting the plays a lot better. He is getting way more comfortable,” Booth said. “He came here like a shy guy, but I like breaking guys out of their shells. He is a goofy guy now. So, it is just me and him being goofy.
“He definitely has his confidence. He has learned that playbook.”
Davis came to Clemson in January and participated in the Tigers’ nine spring practices. Coming out of high school, he was rated as the No. 28 player in the nation by Rivals and the third best cornerback.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound corner played at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Fla., where he had 101 tackles and four career interceptions. He also broke 30 passes and caused two forced fumbles.
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