The Clemson Insider gives a scouting report on every player on Clemson’s two-deep depth chart. We will break down what the player does best, what he needs to work on, how he compares to other former players at his position and where he fits on the Clemson roster.
Player name: Cornell Powell
Player position: wide receiver (field)
Years left of eligibility: 3 years
Current rank on depth chart: Second
Player productivity so far: Powell is a talented, rangy wide receiver who saw plenty of action as a first-year freshman in 2016. He had 12 receptions for 87 yards while playing in nine games. He appeared in his first collegiate game against Troy, recording a five-yard reception in 19 snaps. He caught three passes in 42 snaps against SC State. He snagged five passes for 44 yards at Georgia Tech in a big road win. He also caught two balls for 15 yards at Boston College and saw six snaps at Wake Forest. He had an 11-yard reception in 24 snaps against South Carolina.
What player does best: Powell is bigger and stronger than starter Ray-Ray McCloud. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, Powell has a few extra abilities. He has good straight line speed and is very athletic.
What player needs to work on: Powell needs to be more consistent and needs to play with more confidence. The sophomore needs to flatten out his routes. He can improve in his technique as well. He also needs to play faster and find that extra gear the coaches know he has.
Productivity of former Clemson players at the position (first year and last):
Sammy Watkins, 2011: He set freshman records for receptions, yards and touchdowns with 82 receptions for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged 14.9 yards per catch with a long of 65 yards. He averaged 93.8 yards per game.
Sammy Watkins, 2013: He set Clemson’s single-season records for receptions and yards with 101 catches for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged 14.5 yards per catch with a long of 96 yards. He averaged a record 112.6 yards per game.
Artavis Scott, 2014: He caught 76 passes for 965 yards and 8 touchdowns. He averaged 12.7 yards per catch with a long of 70 yards. He averaged 74.2 yards per game.
Artavis Scott, 2016: Had 76 receptions for 614 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 8.1 yards per catch with a long of 28 yards. He averaged 40.9 yards per return.
Ray-Ray McCloud, 2015: As a backup, McCloud played in 12 games while catching 29 passes for 251 yards and one touchdown. He averaged 8.7 yards a catch with a long of the 36 yards. He averaged 20.9 yards per catch.
Ray-Ray McCloud, 2016: McCloud started five games last year and played in 14. He caught 49 passes for 472 yards and scored two touchdowns. He averaged 9.6 yards per catch with a long of 36 yards. He averaged 33.7 yards per game.
What can you hope for? You hope Powell becomes the kind of backup you need to play behind McCloud. In each of the last two years, McCloud has suffered an injury that forced him to sit out a few games. Co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jeff Scott will need to have Powell ready to go as a starter in case McCloud again suffers an injury that could hold him back.
What is a realistic expectation? It is realistic to expect Powell to catch at least 30 passes for 350 or 400 yards with a couple of touchdowns.
What about the future? Powell is a promising young wide receiver who has a lot of talent. He will be pushed this year by incoming freshman Amari Rodgers, but that can be a good thing going forward. He has the talent to be a starter and competition will only make him better.