Dec 19, 2020; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers cornerback Derion Kendrick (1) on the sidelines in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: All-ACC CB Derion Kendrick off team at Clemson

Clemson cornerback Derion Kendrick, an All-ACC selection in 2020, is no longer with the team, multiple outlets reported Sunday.

Clemson247 reported that coach Dabo Swinney dismissed him from the program.

Kendrick was a five-star recruit from Rock Hill, S.C., in the Class of 2018 but has run into disciplinary issues. He announced in January that he would return to the Tigers for his senior season, which would have meant Clemson had all 11 starters on defense coming back.

He appeared in nine games (eight starts) in 2020 and was credited with 20 tackles (one for loss), six pass breakups, a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery in 382 snaps. He returned the fumble 66 yards for a touchdown at Virginia Tech on Dec. 5.

In 39 career games (23 starts), he made 71 tackles (four for losses) and had 12 pass breakups and three interceptions. He also had 15 career receptions for 210 yards and returned 15 kickoffs an average of 23.3 yards.

–Field Level Media

Sep 14, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive end Justin Foster (35) rushes a Syracuse Orange lineman during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson DE Justin Foster retires after bout with COVID-19

Dec 6, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) runs onto the field before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson defensive end Justin Foster announced his retirement from football after missing the entire 2020 season battling symptoms of COVID-19.

Foster was projected to start for Clemson last season after finishing second on the team with 10.5 tackles for loss in 2019. However, Foster tested positive for the virus in August 2020, a battle from which he has not yet fully recovered.

“With sadness but no regret, I have decided it is in my best interest to call it a career and hang up football,” Foster posted to Twitter on Wednesday.

“I was born with asthma and allergies that, when active, affect my ability to breathe normally,” Foster wrote. “The combination of these conditions, along with contracting COVID, made for a severe difficulty to perform physically. While my situation has improved, I am not in a position now, or do I see that position soon, to step back on the field.”

Foster, who graduated last year, chose Clemson over Alabama, Florida and Georgia, among others, in the class of 2017.

He finishes with seven career sacks.

–Field Level Media

Feb 12, 2021; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence works out during Pro Day in Clemson, South Carolina. Mandatory Credit: David Platt/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Report: Trevor Lawrence’s shoulder surgery set for Tuesday

Shoulder surgery for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, has reportedly been scheduled for Tuesday.

NFL Network reported Saturday that Lawrence will have the procedure to repair his left (non-throwing) labrum in Los Angeles with Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Surgery Center.

The expected recovery time is 5-6 months and the 21-year-old Lawrence should be ready in time for training camp, per the report.

Lawrence performed for NFL scouts — including the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold the No. 1 pick — at his pro day on Friday morning in Clemson, S.C.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Lawrence completed 758 of 1,138 passes (66.6 percent) over three seasons at Clemson and recorded totals of 10,098 passing yards, 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, adding 943 yards and 18 scores on the ground.

The Tigers won a national championship and lost just two games with Lawrence under center.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Clemson Tigers linebacker Mike Jones Jr. (6) intercepts a pass intended for Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Chris Olave (2) during the third quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Russell Costanza-USA TODAY Sports

LB Mike Jones Jr. transfers from Clemson to LSU

Former Clemson linebacker Mike Jones Jr. announced Wednesday that he has transferred to LSU.

Jones posted a picture of himself in an LSU uniform on Twitter while announcing his intentions.

“Make your next move your best move ! @LSUfootball” Jones wrote.

Jones made 30 tackles (four for losses) and had two interceptions and one forced fumble in 10 games (seven starts) for Clemson last season. He had 19 tackles (four for losses) and a forced fumble in 15 games in 2019 as a redshirt freshman.

Jones entered the transfer portal following the 2020 season.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) reacts after the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Lawrence to have surgery on non-throwing shoulder

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will have surgery to repair his left labrum on his non-throwing arm, multiple outlets reported Friday.

According to a report by ESPN, Lawrence’s representatives at MGC Sports said the procedure is not expected to impact his availability for the 2021 season and added that doctors believe the 21-year-old will recover in time for training camp.

The surgery is set to happen after Lawrence, the projected top pick in this year’s draft, throws for NFL teams on Feb. 12. He will not participate in Clemson’s pro day in March.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Lawrence was 758 for 1,138 attempts over three seasons and recorded totals of 10,098 yards, 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, while also adding 943 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground during his Clemson career.

The Tigers won a national championship and lost just two games with Lawrence under center.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, who ended the season on a 15-game losing streak, have the top pick in the draft.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban celebrates after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama closes National Signing Day with record-setting class

National champion Alabama regained the title of No. 1 football recruiting class on National Signing Day on Wednesday, topping Ohio State.

The Crimson Tide have had the top-rated class in the nation in three of the past five years, according to national recruiting service 247Sports. The crown has been in Tuscaloosa in the odd-numbered years, with Georgia taking the title in 2018 and ‘20.

The bulk of the players nationally were signed in the early signing period in late December, with a few top players left to announce their choices on Wednesday.

The 247Sports Composite Team Rankings give a score to each team’s class, and Alabama set a record with a 327.91 score, besting the record of 324.67, set in 2010 by Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators.

Alabama cemented the record with the signing of a pair of blue-chip prospects on Wednesday: Camar Wheaton of Garland, Texas, a five-star signee who is ranked as the No. 2 running back in the nation, and four-star safety Terrion Arnold of Tallahassee, Fla. Arnold is the No. 3-ranked player at his position, per the 247Sports composite.

“We’re obviously very excited to have two additional guys to add to the class of people who signed in December,” Saban said.

In all, his class consists of 27 commits, including seven five-star prospects. Arnold and cornerback Ga’Quincy McKinstry, who signed in December, both are expected to play basketball for Alabama, too.

“We don’t have an issue with guys playing other sports,” Saban said, adding he and basketball coach Nate Oats “have a good idea of how we’re going to do it.”

Following Alabama in the ranking were perennial powers Ohio State (309.49 points), Georgia (294.55), LSU (291.37) and Clemson (291.20).

Ohio State’s class didn’t add any signees on Wednesday, but coach Ryan Day undoubtedly will be satisfied with the 21 commits — including five, five-star prospects — already signed.

The biggest signings of the day, other than from Alabama, came in the next group of five teams.

No. 6 Oregon inked Avante Dickerson of Omaha, Neb., the No. 8-ranked cornerback in the nation. He’s one of 19 four-star recruits for the Ducks, who finished No. 11 in the team rankings in 2020.

No. 7 Texas A&M added the nation’s No. 4 running back, LJ Johnson of Cypress, Texas. No. 8 Southern California picked up Raesjon Davis, the fourth-ranked outside linebacker in the country from area powerhouse Mater Dei.

Notre Dame finished in the No. 9 spot after falling to No. 18 in the Class of 2020.

Michigan, which signed coach Jim Harbaugh to a contract extension last month, closed out signing day with the No. 10 class after flipping a pair of players previously committed to other programs.

The Wolverines convinced Rayshaun Benny, a four-star in-state defensive tackle, to decommit from Michigan State. They also signed defensive tackle Ikechukwu Iwunnah from Garland, Texas, who initially committed to Colorado.

The other significant signing of the day belonged to Ole Miss, which inked Tywone Malone of New Jersey, the nation’s sixth-ranked defensive tackle. Coach Lane Kiffin’s Rebels finished with the No. 18 class in the country, up from No. 34 in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood (70) celebrates with the CFP National Championship trophy after beating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

CFP champion Alabama already 2022 favorite

The celebrations were barely underway Monday night after Alabama’s latest national title when the Crimson Tide were installed as one of the favorites to claim the championship again next year.

Clemson, which lost in a national semifinal on Jan. 1, is the co-favorite or second favorite at various sportsbooks.

BetMGM and DraftKings had Alabama at +300 and Clemson at +350. FanDuel listed the Crimson Tide at +350 and the Tigers at +400, with Georgia also at +400. tabbed Alabama at +300, Clemson at +400 and Georgia at +500.

Alabama and Clemson topped PointsBet’s list at +300, with Ohio State next at +500. The Buckeyes also were the third choice at DraftKings at +400, third at BetMGM at +500 and fourth at FanDuel at +600.

The fourth choice at DraftKings was Oklahoma at +800, with Georgia at +1400. The Sooners were the fourth choice at at +600 and the co-fourth choice at FanDuel at +600, along with Ohio State. Georgia and Oklahoma shared fourth for PointsBet at +800.

Top-ranked Alabama (13-0) demolished third-ranked Ohio State 52-24 on Monday at Miami Gardens, Fla., to give coach Nick Saban his record seventh national championship.

The Buckeyes (7-1) couldn’t control Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the Heisman Trophy winner, who piled up 215 yards and three touchdowns on 12 first-half receptions before exiting with an injury.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) celebrates after a touchdown in the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

CFP notebook: Can No. 4 Irish show they belong?

For No. 4 Notre Dame, Friday’s 1 p.m. Eastern semifinal against top-ranked Alabama in the College Football Playoff can’t come soon enough.

Finally, the Fighting Irish (10-1) will get the chance to show that they belong in the playoff, putting the controversy of their selection behind them. But to do that, they’ll have to at least slow down a juggernaut. Alabama (11-0) has averaged 49.7 points a game this season, trampling everything in its path.

And slowing down Alabama means the Irish will have to bring their best in the semifinal, something they have been unable to do in their two previous trips to college football’s biggest stage when they were woefully outclassed.

And this time, they’re nearly underdogs by 19.5 points.

“We hear it,” senior linebacker Drew White said Thursday. “We’re aware of the noise, we call it.”

That noise sounds like 30-3, which was the drubbing Notre Dame absorbed at the hands of Clemson two years ago in its other trip to the CFP semifinals.

The noise also sounds a lot like 42-14, Alabama’s drubbing of Notre Dame in the national championship game at the end of the 2012 season.

And the noise sounds like the howls following Notre Dame’s 34-10 loss to No. 2 Clemson just two weeks ago, when more than a few critics felt No. 5 Texas A&M (8-1), No. 8 Cincinnati (9-0), or even No. 12 Coastal Carolina (11-0) were more deserving of a CFB berth this season than Notre Dame.

“We’re playing for each other,” White said. “We’re not playing for credit to the media or whoever’s thinking we don’t deserve a spot. We’re playing for each other. We want to get to the national championship. We want to win the national championship for our teammates. So that’s really what’s propelling us is that right there.”

A close semifinal game would be a rarity in the six-year history of the CFP, as the 12 previous semifinals have been decided by an average of three touchdowns.

With Elliott out, Streeter on Clemson headset

With Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott missing the game against No. 3 Ohio State with COVID-19 issues, coach Dabo Swinney will have quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter upstairs helping with play calls.

Elliott has worked the headsets calling plays through Swinney since 2011, so this could be a significant adjustment for Clemson, but Streeter is hardly new to the system. He is in his 13th in the program as a player, grad assistant, and assistant coach.

Vanderbilt’s new ‘holistic’ coach

Notre Dame Butkus Award winner Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah credits defensive coordinator Clark Lea as a key to his improvement this season as a “holistic football player.” Lea was hired in December as Vanderbilt head coach, but will still be with Notre Dame through the playoffs.

“He’s been a difference-maker,” the senior linebacker said Thursday. “He’s been a different type of coach. I’ve never had a type of coach like Coach Lea. He doesn’t yell much. He doesn’t complain much.

“All my life I’ve had coaches that had that aggressive nature, that yell, and that has what made me who I am today and I’m appreciative of that. But Coach Lea has a different style. He’s more a technical, analytical type of guy who wants you to understand the philosophies of the world, wants you to understand the philosophies of football.

“And I think that approach has ultimately made me reach this kind of almost holistic football player. I haven’t got there yet, nowhere close. But I think that’s ultimately led me in the right direction with him being a difference-maker for me in every area of my life.”

Roses in the Lone Star State

Although the Alabama-Notre Dame game is being played in Arlington, Texas, it’s still being called the Rose Bowl. The game was moved from California to AT&T Stadium because COVID-19 protocols in California banned fans — including family and friends — from attending.

Only 3,000 fans will be permitted to attend the Sugar and Rose Bowls, primarily family and friends of the teams.

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2020; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs for a touchdown in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Favored Clemson where the money is vs. Ohio State

Second-ranked Clemson is being backed by the overwhelming amount of betting action despite entering Friday’s College Football Playoff semifinal as more than a touchdown favorite over No. 3 Ohio State.

The Tigers are 7.5-point favorites, with 66 percent of the bets at DraftKings and 76 percent at FanDuel backing Clemson. The action is even more skewed on the moneyline, with Clemson backed by 76 percent of the bets at DraftKings (-295) and 79 percent at FanDuel (-280).

The Sugar Bowl will be a rematch between Clemson (10-1) and Ohio State (6-0), which suffered a 29-23 loss to the Tigers in last year’s CFP semifinals.

“If we’re playing Ohio State, it’s a playoff,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “Or it was a BCS bowl, back in 2013 in the Orange Bowl. We don’t have them on our regular schedule anytime in the near future, so you know it is a big, big postseason game when you play those guys.”

Plenty of offensive fireworks are expected in Friday’s second semifinal, with both sportsbooks setting the Over/Under at 66.5 points. The Over is being backed by 82 percent of the bets and 64 percent of the handle at DraftKings and 81 and 85 percent, respectfully, at FanDuel.

The No. 3 Buckeyes will try to establish the run using Trey Sermon, who gained a school and FBS conference championship game-record 331 yards during a 22-10 win over Northwestern in the Big Ten title game.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 90 yards and a score to down the Fighting Irish 34-10 to win the ACC championship Saturday.

He got support from running back Travis Etienne (124 yards and a TD on 10 carries).

Those two were lethal vs. the Buckeyes last season. Lawrence had 259 passing yards and a touchdown, plus 107 yards and a score on the ground while Etienne had 134 all-purpose yards and three TDs.

“I think (Lawrence) and Etienne are two of the most dynamic players in college football, and probably in the history of college football,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.

–Field Level Media

Aug 8, 2018; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott hands off to running back Tavien Feaster (28) in a drill during fall practice at Clemson University. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard/Anderson Independent Mail via USA TODAY NETWORK

Clemson OC Elliott to miss Sugar Bowl due to COVID protocols

No. 2 Clemson departed for the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Wednesday without offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, who will miss Friday’s game because of COVID-19 protocols.

The school did not say whether Elliott, 41, tested positive for the virus or if he was identified as high risk because of close contact with someone who had.

Coach Dabo Swinney has not said who will call the plays for quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the high-powered Tigers offense against No. 3 Ohio State on Friday.

Clemson is averaging 44.9 points per game — second only to No. 1 Alabama (49.7).

Elliott was a wide receiver at Clemson from 1999-2003 and joined the coaching staff in 2011 as running backs coach. He added co-offensive coordinator duties in 2015 and has been the sole OC this season since Jeff Scott departed to become head coach at South Florida.

–Field Level Media