Learning one position in a Brent Venables-coached defense in its entirety is a success story of its own.
According to Venables, linebacker Kevin Swint has been cross-training to defensive end; no small task for any second-year sophomore. If appropriately managed, Swint could provide much-needed versatility for the Clemson coaching staff and bring out a weapon that opposing offenses aren't sure how to prepare for correctly.
"(K.J.) Henry had surgery in the offseason, so he hasn't been out here to help, but that's why we also moved Swint to cross-train just so we don't get caught thin," Venables said.
Listed at 230 pounds, Swint is significantly lighter than any defensive end that contributed at a high level for Clemson last year, and this may be the only glaring issue when nit-picking the second year Tiger. Light as he may be compared to teammates like Myles Murphy, Swint is still five pounds heavier than freshman edge Cade Denhoff. With movement between the two positions and a proper offseason plan, the weight won't be the issue if Swint doesn't perform in 2021.
"(Justin) Foster and (Logan) Rudolph are two guys that would have been out here along with K.J., and those three guys aren't here," Venables said. "So we just wanted to give Kevin a chance to utilize his skill set. He played a lot of defensive end and jack linebacker in high school.
"He's a heavy-handed guy that plays with a great motor, great toughness. Shows up every day with the right mindset, very competitive, and super coachable. We really felt that he brings value to that group, and he certainly brings value to the linebacker group. But felt like he could have a chance to help us maybe there (at defensive end), where we needed a little bit more help. So I've been pleased with him."
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