Higgins has taken the next step

Higgins has taken the next step

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Higgins has taken the next step

Clemson receiver concentrates on getting bigger and stronger this off-season

When he watches Tee Higgins practice this spring, Jeff Scott can tell the rising sophomore has taken the next step on becoming a good wide receiver.

“He has worked on his body. He looks better,” Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach said after practice on Monday. “When he is out here running, he looks like he is healthier and he has made some good plays.”

By the end of the Tigers’ ACC Championship season last fall, Higgins hit the proverbial freshman wall. After catching 10 of his 17 passes against Florida State, The Citadel and South Carolina, he did not catch anything against Miami in the ACC Championship Game and then got hurt in the Tigers’ Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff.

“I think as the season went last year, I think the physical nature that a season takes on you as a freshman kind of caught up with him. He got banged up a little bit. He was not quite hundred percent there toward the end.”

So Scott challenged the Oak Ridge, Tenn., native to get bigger, stronger and more physical this off-season.

“He wants me to go out there and work,” Higgins said. “You don’t have a spot. Nobody has a spot right now. You’re going to go out there and evaluate you, just go out there and do what you can do.”

Higgins’ work showed off in Clemson’s first scrimmage of the spring on March 14. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound receiver, who is battling Diondre Overton for the starting spot at the boundary position, made a couple of nice catches and had a few big plays.

“Tee has taken another step. He is a guy that has a lot of talent,” Scott said.

But one good scrimmage or one big game does not mean Higgins has arrived. After all, he is still a player who is not even one full-year removed from high school.

“It is a process,” Scott said. “Mike Williams, it was a several year process. Just improving and improving until you finally turn that corner to be a dominate player.

“I think Tee and Diondre have the potential to make that move and they are on the path right now. That is why every day of spring ball is critical for them.”

Higgins’ main areas of concentration this spring have been about getting stronger and working on his releases. Scott feels he still has a bit of work to do physically, but he is a lot stronger than what people might think.

“I have seen him make some nice blocks and be able to finish some guys to the ground,” the Clemson coach said.

Clemson will continue spring practice on Wednesday. The Tigers wrap up the spring with the annual Orange & White Spring Game at Death Valley on April 14.

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