Junior safety Andrew Mukuba
Andrew Mukuba was a fascinating story during his recruitment. Due to the pandemic, he was offered without a face-to-face meeting with the staff, which is a very rare occurrence. Based strictly on his tape and online interviews, Clemson decided to offer and add Mukuba to its class.
When he arrived as a freshman, it looked like the risk had paid off big-time for the Tigers. Mukuba earned honors as a freshman and it looked like he would be a rising star on the defense.
There is a reason why the term ‘sophomore slump’ exists. Impressive play as a freshman can lead to high expectations, which was the case with Mukuba. Additionally, injuries and departures at cornerback led to him being cross-trained. He came into the season lighter than he was as a freshman, possibly due to the expectation that he would be needed at corner.
Mukuba’s play declined in his second season, but the reasons appear easy to diagnose, and hopefully, they will be easy to remedy as well. Hopes for a deeper and more experienced cornerback room, along with the return of safety Jalyn Phillips, bode well for the talented Mukuba to do what he does best – use his athletic abilities to focus on being a dynamic safety. There should be less pressure on his shoulders, and hopefully he will be able to thrive again.
While Clemson’s defense will always rely on flexibility and cross-training, hopefully in this Spring Game we see Mukuba getting back to what he did well in 2021.