Most didn’t expect Clemson corner Derion Kendrick to return to school for a fourth season. As it turns out those folks were right after all.
It was announced on Sunday that Kendrick had officially been dismissed from the team just days after the Tigers had begun spring practice. With it being to late for Kendrick to enter the NFL Draft, it is expected that he will transfer.
As for how it affects Clemson, well that depends on your perspective. At his best, Kendrick was an elite-level corner, earning All-ACC honors in 2019, his first year playing the position. Losing that guy hurts.
On the other hand, the Kendrick we saw last season was a different player. At times, he looked like he already had one foot out the door. He wasn’t even on the field for several games due to disciplinary reasons. Losing that guy doesn’t hurt quite as much.
Regardless, his departure opens up a starting spot in the Clemson secondary and there are a number of ways the coaching staff could go. The one thing that is certain, Kendrick leaving makes cornerback one of the more intriguing positions to keep an eye on this spring.
Mario Goodrich, Sheridan Jones, and Fred Davis II are all guys that could get looks this spring. If Goodrich can stay healthy, he has just as good a shot as anyone. Jones has plenty of experience but was inconsistent at times last season.
The dark horse favorite could be Davis. After appearing in 11 games and logging close to 200 snaps last season as a freshman, the former five-star player should take a huge leap in his development this off-season.
Having a full season in the off-season conditioning program, something the players did not fully get last season, should be greatly beneficial for a player like Davis, who is now entering his second season in the program.
On the surface, Kendrick’s dismissal looks to be a blow to the backend of the Clemson defense, but after the way last season played out for the cornerback out of Rock Hill, it could end up being one of those addition by subtraction type of situations.