Swinney says receiver turned corner Kendrick will start against Tech

by - Senior Writer -
Derion Kendrick will start next Thursday against Georgia Tech
Derion Kendrick will start next Thursday against Georgia Tech

CLEMSON - Derion Kendrick has missed several practices and scrimmages dealing with injuries and the death of a high school teammate during fall camp, but he will start at one of the cornerback spots when No. 1 Clemson hosts Georgia Tech next week.

Kendrick impressed the coaches last spring when he made the move from wide receiver to cornerback and exited the spring game atop the depth chart at the cornerback spot opposite AJ Terrell.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told TigerNet Thursday that Kendrick has been back at practice since last weekend.

"We wish he would have gotten all the work, there is no doubt about that. We definitely think he would have been further along had he been out there the whole camp," Swinney said. "But he's healthy, and we were very cautious in bringing him back. So, he's been out there since the weekend. He will have a good couple of weeks under his belt. He is a veteran guy and he got some experience during the spring. He has worked hard this summer. I wish he had had a little more live work, but it is what it is. He will get his opportunity next Thursday. I am sure that he will be one going out there early."

Kendrick played 283 offensive snaps in 15 games as a freshman in 2018, catching 15 passes for 210 yards and returning 13 kickoffs an average of 23.0 yards. During the spring, however, injuries in the secondary resulted in Kendrick moving to the defensive side of the ball at an early practice, and Kendrick was so impressive the move became permanent.

Kendrick will get the chance to start next Thursday's opener.

"He will be the starter. It's his first game. It's like I tell them, we don't really have starters. We have beginners - somebody has to begin the season but you have to prove it every week," Swinney said. "This is our first game, and then you get into game evaluation and grades and performances and competition. So we have a lot of guys that are going to get an opportunity to play. But unless something changes he will run out there first."

Kendrick still has plenty of competition, including Sheridan Jones, Mario Goodrich, LeAnthony Williams, and freshman Andrew Booth.

"Sheridan, I am pleased with him. Mario and LeAnthony, those guys have all had great camps and deserve to play and will give us some quality depth at that position," Swinney said. "Booth, the same thing. Booth is coming, so I am excited about all of those guys."

Georgia Tech's new offense features a spread offense that likes to throw the football, and Swinney said he has no doubt that the Jackets will go after Kenrick considering All-ACC performer AJ Terrell is on the other side of the field.

"Well, they are Georgia Tech and they are smart so that is what I would do. That number 8 is pretty good over there, but you have to test the water," Sweinney said. "I am going at whoever is over there, and I am not really smart. Those guys had better be ready, whoever is out there. If I look over there and see No. 8, I am going the other way. I think that is common sense."

Davis Allen note

Swinney says the freshman tight end has been back at practice and he's been very impressed with what he's seen. More to come tomorrow.

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