Georgia cornerback Derion Kendrick figures to have quite a challenge on his hands covering some of the nation’s top receivers at the Senior Bowl today in Mobile, Ala.
Kendrick, who won Orange Bowl Defensive MVP honors with two interceptions in the 34-11 win over Michigan, said the talent he’s seeing is similar to what he saw every day at Georgia.
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“I had great receivers at Georgia, with Jermaine Burton and going against George Pickens and AD Mitchell,” said Kendrick, who earned ACC honors at Clemson and All-SEC honors this season. “I had a great receiving corps to go against, so I wouldn’t say it’s too hard to adjust.”
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Kendrick will be one of the players under the microscope, as he entered the postseason NFL draft evaluation phase projected as high as the first round.
The Senior Bowl game, at 2:30 p.m. at Hancock Whitney Stadium (TV: NFL Network), will give Kendrick one final opportunity to make an 11-on-11 impression.
Kendrick made the most of a second chance at Georgia this season after parting ways with Clemson, having failed to communicate needs to miss mandatory workouts for family reasons after last season.
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Coach Kirby Smart had nothing but good things to say about the way Kendrick took care of business with the Bulldogs.
“He fit right in with our guys, and he’s been a tremendous leader, and I’m really proud of everything,” Smart said after Kendrick’s incredible Orange Bowl performance.
“He’s gotten a lot of the accolades and the things he deserves tonight in the form of interceptions. He hasn’t gotten those awards in the past, but he’s played really well.”
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Of course, on the field, Smart was just as hard on Kendrick as any of the other Georgia defensive backs.
“Practices were a lot harder, a lot faster at Georgia,” Kendrick said, asked to compare the Bulldogs’ workouts to those at Clemson. “It’s always consistently moving no matter where we were at from start of practice until the end.
“Special teams, you are always doing something, too, that’s the biggest difference too.”
Smart stays on top of his players at every moment, quick to call anyone out who’s not performing up to speed.
“You have to be ready every play,” Kendrick said with a smile.
“Microphone Kirby, he’ll call you out no matter what it is, he’ll stay on you, so it keeps you ready to compete every play and never giving up.”
“Doing the little things, that’s what we always were taught there. My three years at Clemson, it always came back to doing the little things, and that’s what stuck with me there.”
Kendrick said he will miss Georgia, even though he didn’t arrive in Athens until last summer.
“It was home to me, even though I was there for a short time,” Kendrick said. “Everyone was there for me when I first got there and showed me what it is, and what it isn’t. They helped me settle in.”
Georgia is expected to have five representatives on the “American” team being coached by the Detroit Lions staff. In addition to Kendrick, punter Jake Camarda, offensive linemen Justin Shaffer and Jamaree Salyer and linebacker Channing Tindall look to be active.
Defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt, after a strong start to the week, withdraw on account of a reported ankle injury.
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