Dabo Swinney Likes Competition He’s Seeing at Cornerback

With the dismissal of starting corner Derion Kendrick, the Tigers are going to need someone to step up and fill that void.

Clemson is close to being halfway through spring practice and so far head coach Dabo Swinney is loving the competition he is seeing from the group.

“We do have great competition,” Swinney said on Friday. “Andrew Booth is having his best spring of practices he’s had of any spring. Fred Davis has made some great strides; I love what I’ve seen from him. Mario Goodrich is a savvy veteran guy that really is probably more self-aware than he’s been any any point in his career and I like that. Goodrich can play the nickel spot and either corner spot, so he gives us some versatility.”

One player that really showed promise as a freshman last season was Malcolm Greene. However, Swinney noted that he will likely miss the final part of the spring session.

“Malcolm Greene has made great strides for us,” Swinney said. “He’s probably going to get a shoulder deal cleaned up after spring break and will probably miss the last part of spring, so he’s ready to go this summer.”

Another player that Swinney will be looking to take that next step in his development is Sheridan Jones. Heading into his third season, the Clemson head coach compared Jones to a former Clemson defensive back that took time to develop into the player he eventually became.

“Sheridan Jones is developing,” Swinney said. “He had some moments early last year but didn’t finish the season well. He’s a talented prospect that’s going to get better and better. We had a kid Coty Sensabaugh around here, and that’s kind of who Jones reminds me of. Still developing physically and developing his confidence, but he certainly has the tools to be a really good player. Didn’t finish the season well and we need him to compete so he can have a great junior year, or sophomore year, however you want to look at it.”

The Tigers just brought in four-star corner Nathaniel Wiggins as part of the 2021 recruiting class, As an early enrollee, Swinney said that Wiggins, like a lot of other young players, is a guy that will need some time in the weight room.

“Nate is a really an exceptional young talent,” Swinney said. “He has a ways to go. He needs the latter half of spring and summer in the weight room with coach (Joey) Batson; he’s got to get stronger. We have some young guys that really need that aspect. He’s a natural kid. He can run. Has great length and good instincts. He’s a tough guy and I like that. He’s a little light in the pants right now but he’s an outstanding prospect.” 

Overall though, and despite not being very deep, Swinney said he has been real pleased with what he has seen from his corners so far this spring.

“It’s a good group that’s competing their tails off.” 

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