Head coach Dabo Swinney spoke with the media on Tuesday for his weekly press conference ahead of Clemson’s ACC Championship berth this weekend and offered an update on freshman safety Sherrod Covil Jr.’s progress.
Though the freshman has seen limited action in his first season with the Tigers, Covil has made vast improvements since he first stepped on campus last January as an early enrollee. Swinney says he could be just what the Clemson safety room needs with R.J. Mickens missing the first half of Saturday’s ACC Championship game due to a targeting call in the third quarter of the Tigers loss to South Carolina.
“Man, he’s exactly what you’re looking for, but just felt like he had a lot of immaturity within the program in the first part of the season,” Swinney said. “Really probably since the Florida State game, he’s kind of I think made a turn. He’s just kind of really gotten on a good groove in what he needs to do. He’s going to be a good one. He’s going to be a good player and we need him.”
The fourteenth-year head coach compared Covil’s potential to former Clemson great and current Philadelphia Eagle’s safety K’Von Wallace. Before being drafted back in the 2020 NFL Draft, Wallace was a part of two National Championship teams at Clemson as well as four playoff appearances in his four seasons with the Tigers.
“I think he can be better than K’Von, I really do,” Swinney said. “I think he’s got some similar traits; he’s got a little bit of swag to him, he’s got a little bit of that fire in his belly like K’Von had, but I think he can be better, I really do, but he has a lot of work to do. K’Von really became a great leader.
“He really became a mature, committed kid in every area of his life, Covil’s not quite there yet. He’s still just a freshman that maybe hadn’t quite made up his mind yet that this is what it’s going to take for me to be great on and off the field and really committed to doing that, but he’s young and he’s coming. He’s got a chance to be a really good player and he’s gotta step up for us this week, no doubt about it… and he’s going to have his hands full.”
In his freshman campaign thus far, Covil has recorded 12 total tackles over 11 game appearances, five (one for loss) of which came against the Gamecocks last weekend in Death Valley.
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