All three wideouts will be early enrollees, and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney believes they have the chance to make a big early impact.
“It’s exciting. High-character guys,” Swinney said this week during his early signing period press conference. “All three will be mid-years, so all three will be here and going through spring practice. It’s really good. Obviously we’re losing (Hunter) Renfrow and Trevion (Thompson), so to get those three guys in the mix… Tee (Higgins) is going to be a junior and Amari (Rodgers) will be a junior next year… It’s a great opportunity for them to come in and be a part of a really good group.”
Both Ladson and Ngata are rated as five-star prospects by various recruiting services. Clemson co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Jeff Scott did a commendable job, per usual, to help the Tigers land both players.
Ngata, a native of Folsom, Calif., became the first player from California to sign with Clemson since Bobby Forbes in 1991. He chose Clemson over Washington, where his older brother plays football, and many other offers when he committed to the Tigers in July.
As a senior, Ngata recorded 66 catches for 1,272 yards and 22 touchdowns to help lead Folsom High School to its second consecutive state championship. In this year’s state title game on Dec. 14, he had nine receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown catch with under two minutes left in regulation that sent the game into overtime.
For his high school career, Ngata racked up 188 receptions for 3,682 yards and 55 touchdowns, and caught at least one touchdown pass in 36 of 42 career games.
“Ngata is very unique,” Swinney said. “Thick, long arms, great length, great ball skills and very natural ball skills.”
Ladson, meanwhile, is ranked among the top 51 players in the nation by five different services. The Miami, Fla., native had a record-setting senior year when he had 50 catches for 1,133 yards and 13 touchdowns. He set the South Dade High School record for receiving yards.
Like Ngata, Scott headed Ladson’s recruitment and was a big reason why Ladson decided to turn down Mark Richt’s Miami program and leave home to play for Clemson.
“Frank’s a guy that we found out about early,” Scott said this week during Clemson Football’s National Signing Day Show. “Really he’s one of these guys that’s a special talent. He runs extremely well, very explosive, and the video kind of speaks for itself. But where I was most impressed with is Frank is when he and his family — his mom, his dad, brother and sister — they all came up with him in January for a junior day, and I knew within the first five minutes this was a Clemson family and this was a Clemson type of young man and he’s not just going to like it here, he’s going to love it here.
“But very explosive. I think he is similar to some of the guys that we have right now that can really take the top off and run by guys, and he’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.”
Last but not least, the Tigers got another great one in Spector. The Calhoun, Ga., product is a second-generation Clemson player who played both wide receiver and safety in high school. His father, Robbie, was a wide receiver for the Tigers who lettered from 1988-90, while his brother, Baylon, is a freshman linebacker at Clemson.
As a senior at Calhoun High School, Spector posted 49 receptions for 719 yards and seven touchdowns while logging 47 tackles, five tackles for loss and five interceptions on defense, including an interception he returned for a touchdown. In 2017, he keyed Calhoun’s state championship victory with what would turn out to be the game-winning interception return for a touchdown.
“Brannon was a guy that I had in camp, and just a very smooth athlete,” Scott said. “Runs extremely well. … But he’s a guy that I was able to identify very early and know that he really could play multiple positions.
“I think the biggest compliment that we could give him is he’s going to be wearing No. 13 (Renfrow’s number) next year. So, I think that tells you all you need to know about where he stacks up in our mind.”
Scott, Swinney and the Tigers can’t wait for Spector, Ladson and Ngata to get on campus and join the team in January.
“If it was a beauty pageant we’d win, that’s for sure, because they are three great looking prospects,” Swinney said. “All three of these guys, it’s just a natural thing for them. This is going to be a fun group to coach.”