When Tee Higgins caught those four passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns in Clemson’s spring game on April 14, everyone knew what it meant. He was now in better control of his playing time.
It proved to be the case last month when head coach Dabo Swinney released Clemson’s preseason depth chart. After entering the spring No. 3 on the depth chart at the boundary wide receiver position, Higgins is now sitting at the top, officially listed as the co-starter with senior Trevion Thompson.
Granted Higgins’ performance in the spring game does not guarantee anything when fall camp starts in August, but it does prove how much he has developed since last summer when he first stepped foot on campus. At 6-foot-5, 210-pounds, Higgins has gotten stronger and more physical. He still has a ways to go, but his development is starting to show.
In the spring, Scott raved about how Higgins was holding his own against Clemson’s physical corners … Trayvon Mullen, A.J. Terrell and Mark Fields. He talked about how he was starting to win some of those 50-50 balls, something he struggled to do as a freshman.
Go back and watch the Sugar Bowl against Alabama for an example.
In the spring game, there were a couple of occasions in which Higgins just threw Terrell to the ground or fought him to take the ball away. Both of his touchdowns came that way.
On his 50-yard catch from Trevor Lawrence, he separated himself from Terrell by shoving him to the ground at the last second as the two fought for the ball.
On his 18-yard touchdown reception, he fought through Terrell and physically outplayed him for the ball. It was a promising step and reminded fans of former Tiger great Mike Williams, who did the same on a lot of occasions.
Higgins is not the starter just yet, though. He still has to beat out Thompson and Diondre Overton, who are both breathing down his neck and deserve playing time as well.
A three-year player, Thompson is the most seasoned player of the three, while Overton is 6-foot-5, 205-pounds and is extremely long and athletic himself.
Competition should be fun when camp begins later this summer, and Higgins finds himself in the perfect position to win the job.
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