Derion Kendrick of South Pointe High in Rock Hill will be one of the state’s most talented and most sought-after recruits for 2018.
Kendrick (6-1, 190) is the most touted of a star-studded 2018 group for coach Strait Herron and has played in the secondary as a corner and safety, and on offense as a quarterback and slot receiver. Some schools have recruited him as a receiver, but Herron said that’s a waste of time because Kendrick is set on being a defensive back in college.
“Clemson said they wanted to put him in the same spot as (Nuke) Hopkins,” Herron said. “He went to camp and went with the defensive backs and there were too many so he went over with the receivers and Jeff Scott is like, ‘We’ve got to have that guy.’ Jeff came in and talked about him being a slot receiver and word got out that he wanted to be a defensive back. About a week later, (Brent) Venables showed up and he said if he wants to play defense, they want him. Clemson handles that stuff well.”
Clemson is making a strong recruiting run at Kendrick, but South Carolina also is in the mix. The Gamecocks have strong ties to the school through past recruiting and are involved with several of Kendrick’s teammates.
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“I took him down for an unofficial visit to USC and Coach Muschamp did a great job and showed him what he wanted him to do,” Herron said. “He had him being a multiple position defensive back, as a safety and a corner. He had a player at Florida he used in that mold and DK would do a great job.”
Kendrick’s list of offers includes Clemson, USC, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Penn State, Florida State, LSU and Notre Dame. With those offers comes the bright spotlight of recruiting attention, something Kendrick does not crave.
“He won’t tell us, he won’t say anything,” Herron explained. “Last year he went to a lot of games. He really doesn’t want to go to games this season. It’s been kind of funny. I did hear that he likes Clemson, USC and Florida, but Clemson is definitely in the lead. He doesn’t like to talk to the media or college coaches about that kind of stuff. He’s a lot like (Jadeveon) Clowney. He wants to have a good time and enjoy football. If you’re a college coach and call him up and crack a joke, he’ll love you to death. He wants to enjoy the whole process. He’s not going to rush the decision.”
Other 2018 top prospects at South Pointe are LB Eli Adams, LB BJ Davis, DB Steven Gilmore Jr. and kicker B.T. Potter. USC has offered Adams and Gilmore.