Clemson football: Secondary will be tested early and often

Nolan Turner Clemson Tigers i(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Nolan Turner Clemson Tigers i(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Clemson football’s biggest question-mark on defense entering 2020 will be the secondary.

Entering 2019, the Clemson football secondary was the biggest strength of the Tigers defense. Entering 2020 they need to answer the question – how will they replace the starters lost in the defensive secondary?

Gone are full-time starters A.J. Terrell, Tanner Muse, K’Von Wallace as well as hybrid All-American Isaiah Simmons; both Terrell and Simmons were taken in the Top 20 of the 2020 NFL draft. The Tigers also lost Wallace’s backup, Denzel Johnson.

The Tigers will bring back Nolan Turner, who had the game-ending interception against Ohio State. While he is not as athletic as Tanner Muse, he played the position last year much better than Muse did most of the time.

Converted receiver Derion Kendrick was unbelievable in his first year at corner in 2019 and will be among the best in the country in 2020, but they have to figure out who will play opposite of him. Whomever that is is going to get tested early and often.

Clemson football has seen this with Justin Miller and Tye Hill

If you have been around Clemson football long enough, you remember the names of Justin Miller and Tye Hill. Justin was an All-American corner at Clemson in the early 2000s and Tye Hill was a converted running back.

Because Miller was as good as he was, Hill was tested early and often after his position change. If you recall, Tye answered the call and became a first-round corner in 2006; the All-American Miller was taken in the second round in 2005.

Whoever lines up across from the field from Kendrick will have an opportunity to grow and build his confidence early just as Tye Hill did.

Junior Mario Goodrich will more than likely get the first opportunity to win the starting job opposite of Kendrick. Sophomores Andrew Booth Jr.and Sheridan Jones will also get a chance to show what they have as will junior LeAnthony Williams Jr.

Whoever wins the starting job, will have to be ready from game one. Georgia Tech has found a quarterback in year two under Geoff Collins and will test the inexperience of the Clemson secondary the first Thursday in September.

Next. Don’t discount the talented WRs on the roster. dark

Depth is going to be important as the Clemson football season unfolds, as we know, the Tigers like to start working on their depth early in games. Making sure that the secondary has confidence, as they work toward November, is going to be important and a key part to the Tigers winning the ACC and making a sixth straight college football playoff.