Freshman Spotlight: Can Andrew Mukuba Be Clemson's Safety Of the Future?

How freshman safety Andrew Mukuba projects to be a future starter for Clemson's defensive unit.

Andrew Mukuba's path to Clemson was not like most other recruits. He grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe, where it was a struggle to get water.

Mukuba's family moved to American when he was 9 years old. They eventually settled in Texas, where Mukuba began to focus on football.

Mukuba has the tools to be what Clemson has been missing at safety. Here is what fans can look forward to about the early enrollee:

Hometown: Austin, Texas

High School: LBJ Early College

Height: 6-0

Weight: 185

High School Highlights

Mukuba made an impact all over the field during his high school career. He Played safety, wide receiver and returned kicks for the team. Mukuba moved to safety before his junior year and picked the position up quickly. During his senior season, he had 55 total tackles, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He was a highly recruited prospect and was named a Sports Illustrated All-American candidate during his senior year. He committed to Clemson on Sep. 1, 2020, and enrolled at the beginning of this year.

What Stands out

The first thing that stands out about Mukuba is his decision-making. On defense, he is quick to evaluate a play and make his move. He doesn't hesitate when pursuing a ballcarrier or making a decision in pass coverage. This ability will be crucial for him at Clemson, where he will have to make plays all over the field. The other thing that stands out is Mukuba's ability to pursue the football in coverage. His time at receiver helped him develop his pass-catching skills, and it shows on defense. He excels at finding the ball in the air and making a play despite pressure from opposing receivers.

How he fits in at Clemson

The team has not signed many highly recruited safeties in the past, so Mukuba is one of the best prospects at the position to come to Clemson. His physical attributes and skills are similar to the safeties that excelled on the team. The biggest question surrounding Mukuba is how well he will be able to tackle ballcarriers. He was a solid hitter in high school, but he will be undersized at the college level. Mukuba may need to put on some weight before he can make a real impact on the defense.

2021 Outlook

Clemson has many safeties on the roster, but with Lannden Zanders out for the spring, Mukuba will get some opportunities. Despite this, he will have to stand out to have a chance of cracking the rotation this season. Clemson's safety unit is full of older players that will probably see the field before him. Mukuba's freshman year may be a time for him to refine his skills and work to increase his size. His opportunity will come, but it may not be this season.