When Tony Elliott played wide receiver for Clemson from 2000-’03, he was part of a group that had tall and athletic players like Kevin Youngblood and Derrick Hamilton.
For their time, both receivers were a rarity. There were not many receivers back then that stood 6-foot-4 for or taller in college football, but Clemson had two of them.
Hamilton, affectionally called “Noodle” by then head coach Tommy Bowden, could bend his body and use his athletic ability to get away from defenders, while also high pointing the ball as well as anyone. Youngblood could out jump anyone and was very physical. Together, he and Hamilton helped make up a dynamic receiving corps for Clemson from 2001-’03.
These days, Elliott, Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator, has several Youngbloods and Hamiltons on the Tigers’ roster. Most are 6-foot-4 or taller. They’re all athletic and they can all jump and highpoint the football with the best of them.
Clemson has Tee Higgins (6-4, 217), Justyn Ross (6-4, 211), Diondre Overton (6-4, 208) and now freshmen Joseph Ngata (6-4, 218) and Frank Ladson (6-4, 198).
Higgins and Ross were named to the All-ACC preseason team last month and are expected to have a big year in 2019 after combining for more than 1,900 yards and 21 touchdowns last season, while Overton is working his way to being the Tigers’ starter in the slot. Then there are Ngata and Ladson, true freshmen who burst on to the scene with big performances in the spring game this past April.
“They have been doing well. They just picked up where they left off,” Elliott said. “Those are two big guys that can run.”
Elliott said he is just amazed with the amount of talent Clemson has at wide receiver.
“Golly! I have some wideout in my background,” he said. “I come out and I look at those guys. I’m like, ‘Golly! Look at those guys.’ We thought we were big back in the day when we had Youngblood and Derrick Hamilton, but everyone of them are 6-5.
“Those two guys are fantastic, and they have great work ethic and great work habits. They don’t say anything. They just compete.”
And, more than likely, they’re going to make plays this coming season.