When: April 9 at 1 PM, Clemson Memorial Stadium
Position Coach: Mickey Conn – In addition to coaching safeties, Coach Conn will also take on the role of Co-Defensive Coordinator. While Wes Goodwin will take the lead role with play calling, it is expected that Conn will provide some of the organizational leadership for the defense. His fifteen years as Head Coach at Grayson High School give him experience running a program, and he should complement Goodwin nicely.
Who is playing: Andrew Mukuba (SO), Jalyn Phillips (SR), RJ Mickens (JR), Sherrod Covil (FR-Early Enrollee)
Who isn’t playing: Tyler Venables (JR), Kylon Griffin (FR)
Questionable: Lannden Zanders (JR-R) – Zanders is limited in practices right now as he continues his recovery from injuries that have kept him sidelined for much of the past two seasons. Early in spring there seemed to be optimism he could play in the spring game, but now it looks like they will reassess after spring break.
What we can expect for the spring game: Since Venables is sidelined following hip surgery, Phillips and Mickens will have their chance to solidify themselves in the rotation. We also might see some safeties line up at corner to cross-train. If Zanders does not play, Covil will get a big opportunity to show what he has learned so far.
What we can expect for next season: Technically, the Tigers are replacing a starter at safety as Nolan Turner has exhausted his eligibility. The presumed return of Zanders, who was a starter at the beginning of the 2020 campaign, means the Tigers are in the unusual position of being able to replace a starter with a starter. Mukuba emerged as a star in the making in 2021 and is pushing himself to expand his capabilities this spring, including cross training at cornerback.
The next task for Conn is to determine the two-deep. Venables has seen quite a bit of playing time in his first two seasons. Phillips saw his snaps increase during the latter half of 2021. The coaches have remarked that Mickens deserves more time as well.