Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers Just Suffered A Major Blow in Spring Camp

Whatever Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers do this season might be without Derion Kendrick.

Kendrick, an All-ACC cornerback, is no longer with Clemson’s football program. The veteran defensive back elected to return to school and hold off his NFL dreams for another year.

Now, Kendrick is likely headed to the transfer portal and Swinney has another hole to fill in the coming months.

Derion Kendrick is no longer with Clemson

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Derion Kendrick’s days of patrolling the Clemson secondary appear to be over. 

Kendrick, a rising senior, is no longer with the Tigers, who began their spring football camp in late-February. The State transcribed comments that head coach Dabo Swinney made on Monday, March 1.

“Really not much to say about that other than he’s not with us anymore, but also to say I love D.K. Man, he’s a young man that I’ve always loved as a football player. He’s got a really good heart. He’s never been a disrespectful young man or anything like that. Just sometimes there just needs to be a change.”

An All-ACC selection the last two seasons, Kendrick had six pass breakups, an interception, and returned a fumble 66 yards for a touchdown last year. 

Kendrick arrived at Clemson as a receiver and totaled 15 catches for 210 yards. He moved to defensive back in the spring of 2019 and quickly earned a starting job. 

Kendrick had a complicated 2020 season at Clemson

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Although Derion Kendrick remained one of the ACC’s top defensive backs, that isn’t to say that he had a flawless 2020 season. 

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney sat Kendrick at various points throughout the regular season. Things escalated to where Kendrick missed the Tigers’ 52-17 rout of Pittsburgh on November 28. 

According to Sports Illustrated, Swinney had an eloquent way of explaining why Kendrick didn’t play against Pittsburgh in November.

“Sometimes people might say you’re in the doghouse. I like to say he’s in the love shack, Just a little team discipline with him and DK’s actually one of my favorites. The Bible says the great the greatest form of discipline is love. So, just put him in the love shack this weekend, and hopefully, he’ll respond the right way. I loved his attitude today.”

Kendrick remained a starting cornerback through the Tigers’ loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields picked on Kendrick in the Buckeyes’ 49-28 victory. 

Where does Derion Kendrick go from here?

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Derion Kendrick has one of several roads that he can walk, but none involve an easy trip to the NFL.

It is too late for Kendrick to declare for the traditional NFL draft. Kendrick can enter the NFL supplemental draft, which is held each summer, and hope that a team selects him or signs him as a free agent.

Kendrick can also enter the transfer portal and try to find a new home. His former offensive coordinator, Jeff Scott, is the head coach at the University of South Florida.   

Kendrick is originally from South Carolina. If the Gamecocks have scholarship space, Kendrick would be a great addition to Shane Beamer’s first team at South Carolina.

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