Though it was just the first day of fall camp and there is a long way to go before Clemson’s season-opener against Furman, Tee Higgins at least appeared to pick up where he left off in the spring game back in April.
First off, the 6-foot-5 wide receiver reported to camp eight pounds heavier than the 200 pounds he was at in April. Then on Friday he came out and looked the part of a first-team receiver starting on the boundary side of the field.
In the spring, Jeff Scott, Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach, challenged Higgins to become more physical and prove to people why he is a former 5-star prospect. At that point, he was being beaten for the ball by the physical play of Trayvon Mullen and A.J. Terrell, tall and physical cornerbacks who can handle a big receiver like Higgins.
Scott wanted him to start winning his share of those 50-50 balls. By the time the spring game rolled around he was doing just that. In the spring game he caught four passes for 118 yards and scored two touchdowns. On two of those catches, he went up and high pointed the football and took it away from Terrell. Another time he pushed Mark Fields to the ground on a 50-yard touchdown, while scoring his second touchdown by taking the ball away from Terrell, again.
In Friday’s first practice, the Oak Ridge, Tenn., native looked not only bigger, but stronger and faster, too.
“We saw it in the spring game. He kind of showed up,” Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “He was a little bit up and down in spring practice and then you saw the light really click when we were in the stadium so hopefully that is going to carry over through the course of practice.”
Elliott warned they were only in shorts to start camp off, but it was a good start for the sophomore wide receiver nonetheless.
“We will know more mid-next week, the following week when we are really into the dog days of camp,” he said. “That is really when we are going to find out if the guys are ready or not.”
Clemson will resume practice Monday evening on the practice fields behind the Allen Reeves Football Complex. The Tigers open the season Sept. 1 against Furman at Death Valley.
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