If the Clemson spring game is any indication, Andrew Mukuba is on track for a bounce-back season.
After an injury-plagued sophomore campaign, Mukuba is now fully healthy and that health was on full display last Saturday when the junior recorded five tackles, including one for a loss, and picked off a pass that was almost returned for a touchdown.
“I’m more locked in than I’ve ever been,” Mukuba said. “And it’s crazy because when I came in my freshman year, I was so locked in. That was my freshman All-American year, and I had other accolades because I was so locked in. But I’m telling y’all right now, this is the most locked in I’ve ever been. I’m really excited, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen in the fall.”
After spending time at corner a season ago, the plan for next season is for Mukuba to move back to safety. However, he is still expecting to be moved around some, as he and R.J. Mickens are each capable of playing both safety spots on the backend of the Clemson defense.
“I’m trying to do what I can do now to learn everything and things like that,” he said. “But me and R.J., there’s going to be times where we mix up the rotation, where I go to strong because I can play strong, too. And where he goes to nickel because he can play nickel, too.”
Mukuba admits that last season was frustrating, at times. On top of the injuries, he saw all of the chatter on social media. This year, he plans to spend less time listening to the outside noise, and more time on building chemistry with his teammates.
“Go out there, work out, do things like that,” Mukuba said. “Not just on the field but off the field. Go out, eat, have fun, things like that so that we can get that good connection and really know each other for real. I feel like that’s going to help us.”
If the spring game was any indication, Mukuba is indeed laser-focused on regaining the form that made him an All-American in 2021, and he insists that nothing will knock him off his game this season.
“There’s nothing that can knock me off track,” he said. “I’ve got tunnel vision, and I know what I want to do and what I need to do. And I’m going to get it done.”
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