Size does not always matter, even in football. That can be said for very few positions in, but slot receiver is one of them.
Slot receivers rely on quick vision, speed and short, precise route running in order to get separation. Anyone who watched Clemson’s National Championship victory over Alabama saw this on full display when Hunter Renfrow put a quick move on the defensive back and run a rub route to the front corner of the end zone, getting just enough separation for the score.
Length and height are much bigger factors for Field receivers, and because of this, are usually recruiting to play that position in college (i.e. Tee Higgins, Diondre Overton). This is not the case for slot receivers, seeing as Renfrow went from walk-on to hero (with a little hard work obviously).
Clemson looks to have scooped up its next slot sensation in last year’s recruiting cycle with Amari Rodgers. While Derion Kendrick could possibly see time at slot receiver in when he arrives next year, the 2018 wideout will most likely be moved around to several different positions.
The same applies to defensive backs. Sure, length and size matter, but in the case of guys like Ryan Carter and K’von Wallace, speed and instincts can make or break any DB.
Taye Barber out of Cy Springs (Texas) has high upside as a slot receiver, as well as a defensive back, and could add to an already great 2018 recruiting class.
The 5-foot-9, 183-pound receiver has not taken any visits recently, but has several planned coming up this month.
“TCU this Sunday and Texas on the 17th and Texas A&M on the 18th,” he said. “Then I have been looking for flights to make it to other schools.”
One of those schools will be Clemson, as Barber told The Clemson Insider he will visit sometime this summer “as soon as possible,” after receiving an offer back on May 16th.
Barber said whenever he visits, he just wants to “know more than the basics” about the program, “get to learn more about the place” and become more acclimated with the coaching staff.
Barber has been in contact with Clemson coaches Mickey Conn, Brent Venables and Mike Reed since receiving the offer.
“Just basic conversation, building a relationship, and trying to get me up there,” said Barber.
According to Barber, Clemson, TCU, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Missouri, Iowa State, West Virginia, Ole Miss and Tennessee are recruiting him the hardest and are all on a “level playing field.”
Right now, Barber is looking for a school that checks off all of the boxes on his list.
“I just want to have fun and play early,” he said. “Family culture, and somewhere where I can call home and win games.”
In terms of commitment and narrowing down his list, Barber said a commitment before this season looks to be more than likely.
“I want to try and commit by August 1st but if I have too, I’ll commit during the beginning of the season,” he said.
If Barber does choose the Tigers, he believes he can bring a lot to the table, especially since he can plays as a two-way utility player.
“My ball skills and my speed. My play making ability will help the defense a lot,” he said. “And just be the athlete I was born to be and I’ll help in whatever way they need me too.”
Barber’s two-way playing ability would allow him to transition between slot receiver and a Ryan Carter-like safety/nickel hybrid, something the Tigers covet on defense.
As his recruitment continues to develop, Barber told TCI when it comes down to decision time, Clemson “will be one of [his] top schools.”