Looking Ahead: Wide Receiver

Looking Ahead: Wide Receiver


Looking Ahead: Wide Receiver


By Hale McGranahan.

It’s no wonder that a team led by a former wide receivers coach has had so much success at the position.

Since Dabo Swinney took over on a full-time basis in December of 2008, Clemson has sent a number of wide receivers on to the NFL.

Jacoby Ford, the first, has bounced around the league, playing for the Raiders, Jets and Titans.

Former first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins has had a solid first two seasons with the Texans while Jaron Brown, another two-year veteran, has etched out a role with the Cardinals.

By normal standards, former first-round pick Sammy Watkins had a good rookie season with the Bills. So did Martavis Bryant, a fourth-round take by the Steelers.

There are a few wide receivers on the current Clemson roster that are expected to join those former Tigers who are already in the NFL.

Charone Peake, the lone senior on the current roster, has dealt with injuries for much of his career. But if he has a productive final season, by this time next year, his name will have already made its way up various draft boards.

Even if Mike Williams doesn’t match or surpass his numbers from last season, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he left school a year early. As a sophomore, he caught 57 passes for a team-high 1,030 yards with six touchdowns.

Fellow junior Germone Hopper has had issues with consistency throughout his career. He notched 27 catches for 331 yards and three scores in 2014. The pressure is on, because there are already a couple of younger players nipping at his heels.

Artavis Scott is coming off a dynamite freshman season. His 76 receptions and eight touchdown catches were both best on the team. He was second with 965 yards.

Trevion Thompson, the other remaining 2014 wide receiver signed by Clemson, is coming off a redshirt.

Demarre Kitt and Kyrin Priester, both of whom were enrolled freshmen at this time a year ago, have already transferred. Priester left after the first game of the season. He’s now at Washington State. Kitt, who’s now at a Mississippi junior college, will sign in December and be eligible to play in 2016.

Also gone from last year’s team is Adam Humphries, who was very productive during his time at Clemson, starting and providing depth at multiple positions.

Jae’lon Oglesby was set to join the roster earlier this month, after his semester at Fork Union, but the Clemson coaches opted to go in another direction. Though it’s not clear what his status is, it’s been reported that Oglesby will or has signed with Memphis.

Shadell Bell, a three-star freshman, arrived to campus a few weeks ago. He’s projected to play the 5-position, where he would compete with Peake and Hopper. Bell could also see time at the 9, the starting spot that Williams firmly controls.

Five-star Deon Cain is likely to be a long-term fit at that position. Unless Thompson or Bell establishes himself in the spring, the backup job could be up for grabs once Cain arrives later this summer.

The same could be said about Ray Ray McCloud and the backup spot at the 2-position, where Scott did all of his work in 2014. However, aside from Hopper, there isn’t really another receiver on the roster that is a fit for the position.

Time will tell if Denzel Johnson, the lone remaining target on Clemson’s 2015 board, will join them. Even if he does ink with the Tigers, Johnson could end up on the other side of the ball as a safety.

Because Clemson will do so well once signing day rolls around in less than two weeks, they’ll have the luxury of being pretty selective with the 2016 batch of wide receivers. Look for the Tigers to add 2-3, at most, in the coming cycle.

Here are the prospects we are following the closest.

Korey Charles – Tallahassee, Florida – North Florida Christian

Clemson hosted Charles last fall for the Syracuse game, when he made the trip up with his mother. While Charles could play the 2 or 5 wide receiver positions at Clemson, he’s being recruited as an athlete.

T.J. Chase – Bradenton, Florida – IMG Academy

Clemson continues to battle with Florida State for billing as the No. 1 school for Chase, who visited Tigertown in the fall for the South Carolina game. Chase would play either the 5 or 2.

Bryan Edwards – Conway

A big-bodied receiver, Edwards’ fit would be at the 9 or 5. Though Clemson received several visits early on in the process, it would appear that South Carolina has inched ahead as the instate leader. Which Junior Day he attends could give a clear indication as to which team is the front-runner.

Mecole Hardman – Elberton, Georgia – Elbert County

Like Chase and Charles, Hardman would be a fit at the 2 or 5. However, Clemson has to continue to make up ground on Tennessee, which has been Hardman’s leader though a majority of his recruitment. Clemson sophomore running back Tyshon Dye is Hardman cousin, so the Tigers do have that working in their favor.

Diondre Overton – Greensboro, North Carolina – Page

Clemson is the early front-runner for Overton, who’s comparable to Edwards. In terms of being a prospect, he could be a little bit better. Overton will be at Junior Day for his first visit to Tigertown.

Cornell Powell – Greenville, North Carolina – Rose

Powell visited Clemson for the N.C. State game and the Tigers are in firm position for the four-star prospect, who would play the 2 or 5. For now, this looks like a battle between Clemson and Ohio State.



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