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Derion Kendrick opens up about Clemson departure, thanks Dabo Swinney

Matt Connolly05/26/21
Article written by:On3 imageMatt Connolly


Derion Kendrick
Derion Kendrick spent three years at Clemson after signing with the Tigers as a five-star recruit. (Brian Rothmuller/Getty Images)

CLEMSON — Former Clemson cornerback Derion Kendrick recently appeared on the podcast “On Campus with JB & Sciggy” and spoke about his time with the Tigers, growing up in Rock Hill and more.

Kendrick spent three years at Clemson before being dismissed from the program in February. He is currently in the transfer portal.

Kendrick said that lack of communication on his part played a role in him no longer being at Clemson.

“Family is going to come before anything. My son had some problems going on, so I was with him. I wasn’t really at school. It was during spring time, so I had a lot going on then. I was with him, wasn’t really doing work, couldn’t really do work, because I was always in the hospital. I was going to the hospital back and forth,” Kendrick said.

“On my part, I didn’t have too much communication. I was just like, ‘I’ve got to be there.’ So that’s where there was a little misunderstanding.”

Kendrick signed with Clemson as a five-star recruit for the class of 2018. He started his career at receiver, before switching to cornerback for his sophomore and junior seasons.


Derion Kendrick spent three seasons playing for Dabo Swinney and Clemson. (Ian Johnson/Getty Images)

The former South Pointe High star was named second-team All-ACC in 2019 and first-team All-ACC in 2020. Despite the way his time at Clemson ended, Kendrick is still thankful for the opportunity he had to play for the Tigers and Dabo Swinney.

“I give highly thanks to Dabo for just believing in me while I was there, always being on me, trying to get me better, to do better at everything, even if it was on the field, off the field,” Kendrick said. “And everybody around me just pulling for me, even if I was down, just pulling for me. You’ve gotta play with people like that. You’ve gotta play for people like that. That’s why I played with so much passion. I played with so much passion in the game because I wanted to play for them.”

Kendrick, who is a father of two, is hoping to boost his draft stock in his final season of college football.

He considered turning pro following his junior year but opted to return for one more season in hopes of earning his degree and improving his draft grade.

“The reason I came back to school was to finish, graduate, get my degree and then do whatever I wanted to do after that. It wasn’t really like, ‘Oh, go get the money right now.’ … It’s not just about football,” Kendrick said. “I’ve got a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, so that’s what I’m really doing this for. And I’ve got a family that’s behind me 100 percent.”

Georgia is rumored to be the likely landing spot for Kendrick. However, he hasn’t announced where he is going yet.

Kendrick did say on the podcast, which was published May 13, “Y’all might see something out there soon about me going somewhere.”

If the 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back does land at Georgia, he would face off against his former team in his first game for the Bulldogs. Georgia and Clemson are slated to open the season Sept. 4 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.