Some athletes claim they are a team player while others truly live by it, and Derion Kendrick falls into the latter category.
That selflessness has led to the former Clemson wide receiver, who converted to cornerback last spring, being named to the Thorpe Award Watch List.
However, that preseason honor means next to nothing for the junior and he was clear that his goal is to actually bring home the hardware this season.
"It really means nothing. Anybody can be on the list, depending on what they did the year before or whatever," Kendrick said. "But you just have to be motivated to keep going and keep getting better. My goal is to win it, I'm not trying to be a list player. It's not really about being on the list, I'm just trying to get better each day."
Kendrick will be tasked with leading a secondary this fall that has plenty of skilled players and talent but lacks game experience. He'll be joined in the secondary by camp standouts Andrew Booth, Jr., Nolan Turner, Lannden Zanders, and newcomer Malcolm Greene among others.
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Head coach Dabo Swinney said last week this was the deepest secondary he's ever had and raved about the potential of the group.
But the senior from Rock Hill, S.C., remains focused on doing his job on the field and taking care of things he can control when away from the facilities in an effort to be able to be ready when his number is called.
Kendrick said that despite being a key returner for the defense, he knows his work is never done and he has to continue grinding away to keep his spot.
"It doesn't matter what position or if you're starting or sitting on the bench, you always have something to prove. I'm always trying to improve, get better, and take that next step."