CLEMSON — Clemson safeties coach Mickey Conn feels Andrew Mukuba will go back to being Andrew Mukuba this year.
Because Mukuba will get the opportunity to focus on just being a safety this season, the position that earned him ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 2021. Last season, due to several injuries at cornerback, Mukuba had to move over to corner and nickel to help with depth.
Conn now believes he is ready to dominate again at safety.
“I think we probably put too much on him last year,” Conn said last week from Dabo Swinney’s Media Outing at the Allen Reeves Football Complex. “Not to mention, he dealt with injury after injury. He had an awkward fall in a scout team drill, where he dislocated his elbow and had to wear that elbow brace the whole season.
“When you are trying to play man-to-man on guys, that is a big injury. I think it effected his confidence.”
–Conn likes the depth the Tigers have at the safety positions. He loves the experience they have. He mentioned how last year they had to replace the entire back seven and now they have a lot of returners this season at linebacker, cornerback and safety. “Experience is key when it comes to playing defense.”
–Do not get Conn wrong, he is also excited about the younger players he has behind his veteran players. He said they are building depth with the younger players. He said they can play, and they add to the depth. “A 15-game season is a long season. We have to have everybody growing and getting better every week.”
–Clemson’s co-defensive coordinator says sophomore safety Sharrod Covil will fit right into the mix behind veteran players such as Jalyn Phillips, Andrew Mukuba and R.J. Mickens. “The biggest thing with him was just learning the defense. He is extremely athletic and can run. He is physical. He can hit. He is going to play a lot this year. He has earned it.”
–Conn is excited about the future of freshman Khalil Barnes. “He was amazing in the spring. I saw a playmaker. If you watch that spring game, he had a huge PBU, a huge hit and then a game-winning interception. I see the sky is the limit with him.”
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