In addition to Andrew Mukuba’s efficiency final season as a first-year security for Clemson, that does not imply he is unique to that place.
Actually, he is been something however this spring.
Mukuba has shortly made a powerful case for being essentially the most versatile defensive again on the Tigers roster. He has repeated by Clemson’s first 12 spring drills in free and powerful security, each nickel and nook. These reps are distributed equally in every scenario, he mentioned.
“I am an athlete,” mentioned Mukuba. “Wherever they want me, I really feel like I can go there and get issues performed.”
That is what he did final season, primarily in robust defenses, the place Mukuba shortly climbed the depth charts after being nominated final January. He began his first collegiate recreation within the season opener towards Georgia and made 9 extra begins, en path to new All-America honors with 54 tackles and a team-high 9 go breakup.
However Mukuba has a behavior of being carried round. He cut up his time in nearly each place in secondary as one of many nation’s prime defensive again prospects at Early Faculty Excessive in Austin, Texas. The place he stood in line was largely primarily based on the kind of offense the opposition had run along with his personnel, which Mukuba mentioned did the identical factor at Clemson this spring.
“It simply depends upon what sort of day it’s and what days we’re engaged on,” Mukuba mentioned.
Mukuba mentioned Clemson can also be engaged on organising a tempo package deal below first-year defensive coordinator Wesley Goodwin, which is when he normally goes into the nickels. In that package deal, Mukuba mentioned, RJ Mickens takes cost at robust defenses, whereas Barrett Carter, the Tigers’ uber-athletic sophomore linebacker, serves as sixth defensive again.
“Mukuba is a particular participant, and he is doing it in three completely different positions and selecting it up,” mentioned co-defensive coordinator Mickey Cohn, who additionally coaches Safari. “All that information goes to assist him and assist us get extra velocity on the sector once we want it.”
Mukuba mentioned there’s something to be appreciated in each place. There’s a sense of consolation on robust defenses after enjoying nearly solely for a season. Of the 2 nook spots, he admitted that he enjoys enjoying inside as a result of his talent set can be utilized in a wide range of methods at Nickel, though he mentioned he additionally appreciated the competitiveness of being on an island exterior. .
“I really feel like I ought to get some rep within the nook so I can go on the market and present what I can do within the nook, however you are undoubtedly going to see me blitzing and boxing, protecting the slot within the nickel. There’s somewhat bit extra motion happening there,” Mukuba mentioned. “However I am additionally going to be very secure. That is why I am gonna be in every single place, so simply concentrate on that.”
Conn is not the one coach who has seen Mukuba take his recreation to a different stage this spring. Head coach Dabo Swinney mentioned that Mukuba has “come a good distance” mentally and bodily since Clemson’s arrival on campus 15 months in the past, which is why the teaching workers is attempting to make use of the younger participant like a chess piece. I really feel fairly snug. Again of protection.
A part of the maturation course of for Mukuba has included noting the work already achieved at Clemson, which additionally included an All-ACC choice final season. Mukuba mentioned he has already moved on from these accolades. His eyes are already fastened on one other award.
“Receiving the Jim Thorpe Award will surely be a dream come true,” Mukuba mentioned. “He is the very best defensive again in faculty soccer, so I really feel like why not attain for it?”
For now, Mukuba mentioned his main focus is to construct on no matter he has performed to greatest assist the Tigers over the previous yr, wherever it could be.
“I actually similar to enjoying soccer,” Mukuba mentioned. “I actually really feel like I can do my greatest wherever the crew wants me and wherever I really feel snug.”
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