Tonight’s national championship game between Georgia and Alabama won’t come without a Clemson tie.
Former Clemson cornerback Derion Kendrick will get a crack at a second national championship, which, if Georgia is able to pull it off, would be his first at his current position. After being dismissed from Clemson’s program in February, Kendrick eventually landed at Georgia, where he’s started all 14 games at cornerback and leads the Bulldogs with four interceptions.
Kendrick was a two-time all-ACC corner during his three seasons at Clemson, but the Rock Hill native began his career with the Tigers as a wide receiver. During his freshman season in 2018 — one that ended with Clemson routing Alabama for its second national championship in three seasons — Kendrick had 15 catches for 210 yards and got five carries for 41 yards. He didn’t record any stats in the national championship game but played on offense and special teams.
Kendrick made the move to defense on an emergency basis in the spring of 2019 but impressed enough to stick and ultimately earn a starting job at corner heading into that season. In two seasons on Clemson’s defense, Kendrick had 12 pass breakups and three interceptions, earning first-team all-conference honors last season.
Tonight, he’ll be tasked with trying to help slow down Alabama’s passing attack paced by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young. The Crimson Tide rank eighth nationally in passing (336 yards per game) while Kendrick is part of the nation’s third-best pass defense (171.7 yards allowed), though Young torched the Bulldogs through the air in the SEC championship game with 421 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Kickoff from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is set for 8 p.m.
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