Clemson has decided to move on from cornerback Derion Kendrick.
With Kendrick moving in and out of Dabo Swinney’s doghouse the last couple of years, the Tigers’ head coach had enough. As reported, Kendrick was dismissed from the football program, The Clemson Insider confirmed Sunday morning.
What does this mean for Clemson, and in particular a secondary that was blamed for the Tigers’ issues on defense last season?
If there is a silver lining in all of this, it happened just a few days into spring practice. It gives defensive coordinator Brent Venables and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed an opportunity to move guys into Kendrick’s spot and get quality reps.
There likely will not be too much of a drop off, if any, in the starting cornerback spots.
The obvious answer to replace Kendrick is to move either Mario Goodrich or Andrew Booth into his spot. Kendrick and Goodrich started the last three games of the season at the corner positions after Booth suffered a deep thigh bruise.
Goodrich, a senior, is the likely choice to replace Kendrick considering he started in place of Kendrick against Pittsburgh when the Rock Hill native had to sit out the game for undisclosed reasons. Goodrich was officially listed at times last year as Kendrick’s backup.
Booth will likely start opposite Goodrich.
Who is behind those two? Remember, LeAnthony Williams has transferred to Marshall. He was also listed as a backup to Kendrick last year.
The Tigers still have Sheridan Jones, Malcolm Greene and Fred Davis, as well as true freshman Nate Wiggins, who enrolled at Clemson in January so he could participate in spring drills.
Wiggins (6-2, 170) is a tall and long corner, who played wide receiver in high school and was a basketball star as well. He has the potential to be a shutdown cover corner thanks in part to his quickness and agility, while he has the size and ball skills to go up and win one-on-one contested 50-50 catches.
Greene started three games last season, the last two as the Tigers’ nickel back. They still like him in that role, but with one less cornerback it will be interesting to see how Venables will use him in next year’s scheme.
The Richmond, Va., native tallied 18 tackles, 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks while playing in 12 games, including three starts in 2020.
Jones started eight games for the Tigers last season, while playing in 11. He tallied 22 tackles, broke up three passes and had one interception.
Davis also played in 11 games last season. He was credited with 13 tackles and broke up two passes.
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