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Goodrich's Time Has Arrived

Junior cornerback Mario Goodrich eyeing first-team role this fall

They say patience is a virtue, and for Clemson backup cornerback Mario Goodrich, it appears his forbearance will soon pay off. 

With A.J. Terrell NFL bound, it could be go-time for the junior from Kansas City, Mo. Luckily for head coach Dabo Swinney, there is no shortage of talent in the warehouse as the defense looks to fill the void Terrell leaves behind. 

"We got a bunch of our top picks in the recruiting process if you will, so we love our guys and our room," Swinney said. " Really excited about Mario's potential. Very excited about Sheridan Jones's potential. Very excited about Fred Davis's potential and Andrew Booth's potential. We feel like we got the right things. We've got to develop the leadership at that position and the consistency at that position."

Goodrich enters this season credited with a total of 20 tackles and five pass breakups in 318 snaps over 27 total games. He recorded his first career interception against Syracuse in last season's 41-6 triumph at the Carrier Dome.

His production on the field will at least see an uptick of action after playing backup to Terrell, who finished with the team's fifth-highest snap count last season (785). Only Trevor Lawrence, Tremayne Anchrum, Jackson Carman and Isaiah Simmons saw more naps in 2019.  

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Goodrich, Booth and Kendrick have all suffered minor injuries early in practice allowing several of the reserves some quality reps in through this year's abbreviated spring session. 

"Mario has a chance to be a great player," Swinney said last month. "He's one of those guys that's still a maturing football player but also still a maturing young man. Just kind of putting it all together and really getting serious about being great."

It's a tough road ahead in general given the current circumstances and missing out on a crucial learning time on the field. However, Swinney remains optimistic of the group as a whole and the overall potential. 

"I think Mario will be great," Swinney said. "He's tough. He's physical, has good instincts and he can play multiple positions. He could even be a guy that could be a third corner and play that nickel spot. He's a guy we're counting on. He's a guy we need to come through for us, and I think he will... but we've got to get him to 100 percent and get him to where he really feels good physically."