Clemson football: Derion Kendrick could hurt Tigers in multiple ways

The Clemson football team will see a familiar face when they take the field against the Georgia Bulldogs in just a matter of weeks.

Derion Kendrick, who played his first three seasons with Clemson, was dismissed from the program earlier this year and eventually enrolled at Georgia.

Kendrick had a down year in 2020, but Dabo Swinney still believes the cornerback is a special player.

“I love DK,” Swinney said. “He’s a baller. There’s just no doubt about that. DK loves to practice and he loves to play. But sometimes in a relationship, you need a change, you need a fresh start, and that’s kind of where we were. I’m happy for him. I hate we’ve got to play him, because he’s a great player. But I’m happy that he’s at a good place where he can hopefully finish up the right way, and hopefully he’s grown through the process and can be the best version of himself this year. But he’s a baller, there ain’t no doubt about that.”

Though many Clemson football fans are ready to move on from Derion Kendrick saga, the truth of the matter is that it won’t all be complete until after the Tigers and  Bulldogs play on September 4th.

How Derion Kendrick could hurt the Clemson football team

Kendrick is obviously going to be motivated going up against familiar faces and the program that ultimately dismissed him, but it’s not just his play on the field that could end up hurting the Tigers.

There are two other ways– one directly and one indirectly– that we see Kendrick’s new allegiance potentially hurting the Tigers:

  1. The insider tips he could share
  2. The depth problems Clemson is experiencing at cornerback

We’ve already discussed how Kendrick could give Georgia tips and insider observations on Clemson and we fully expect that they’ll take everything they can get.

That being said, perhaps the way that Kendrick might hurt Clemson the most is indirectly.

It’s the fact that you don’t have his body on your sideline and, instead, he’s on the opposite side.

Clemson is already expected to be without Fred Davis, meaning that there are only five other scholarship cornerbacks on the roster. One of those is Malcolm Green– who hasn’t played on the outside a ton and was at the scene of the Davis crash– and another one is true-freshman Nate Wiggins. Then you have Sheridan Jones, who has talent but has only been used sparingly.

That leaves just two veterans– Andrew Booth Jr. and Mario Goodrich– who have significant experience at the position in big moments. When you look at Georgia’s skill position talent, that could be a problem.

You could make the argument that Kendrick wouldn’t have added much value anyway due to the way he played in 2020– and we’re not going to say that’s not a valid argument– but it’s still clear, at least in my opinion, that if you take one of your returning starters and place them on the other team, it still hurts in some way.