Clemson's secondary returns all of its starters from last year, so expectations will be greater than they were last season.
The spring will be crucial for this unit as they try to solidify the starting rotation. Multiple players are fighting for playing time this season, so they will have to show out this spring. This unit has something to prove and will be one to keep an eye on.
Here's a breakdown of the Tigers' secondary heading into 2021 spring practice.
Key departures: LeAnthony Williams, Elijah Turner
Key returning players: Nolan Turner, Derion Kendrick, Mario Goodrich, Sheridan Jones, Andrew Booth Jr., Zanders Lannden, Joseph Charleston, Ray Thornton III, Malcolm Greene
Early enrollees: Nate Wiggins, Andrew Mukuba
Position coach: Mike Reed (8th season) and Mickey Conn (5th season)
Top dog: Derion Kendrick turned down the NFL to return to Clemson for one more season. Kendrick returns to Clemson to prove something and try to improve his draft stock. He brings the veteran leadership and skill that this unit will need this year. Kendrick was already a polished player last year, so expectations are high for him this spring. Kendrick can take advantage of this spring to continue to become more comfortable with the defensive starters. The sky is the limit for Kendrick if he can take make the most of his last year at Clemson.
Instant impact: Andrew Mukuba is a talented player that could see the field some this spring. The Sports Illustrated All- American candidate played on both sides of the ball in high school and excelled at both. He will play safety at Clemson where he can compete for playing time this spring. Mukuba is incredibly athletic and can become an asset to the defense if he shows that his skills can translate to the next level.
Rising star: Andrew Booth Jr. looks like a player about to breakout. He will be fighting for playing time at a crowded cornerback position, but his talent is undeniable. Booth will have the opportunity to show his skills this spring and find his place on the defense. The ceiling is high for the junior if he continues to grow.
Developing talent: Malcolm Greene saw playing time at multiple positions last season. This spring will be crucial for him as he needs to take another step forward to gain consistent playing time. Greene surpassed expectations so far in his Clemson career and has room to grow. If he continues to compete, he can surprise fans this season.
Hole to fill: The departure of LeAnthony Williams will hurt the team's depth at cornerback. Despite the loss, the group will be able to move forward. Williams's departure allows other players to step up this spring and earn some extra playing time.