Look out, Clemson’s receivers ‘are better’

Look out, Clemson’s receivers ‘are better’

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Look out, Clemson’s receivers ‘are better’

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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says his wide receivers have gotten better since the end of last season, even though they lost a possible first-round pick in Tee Higgins.

The Tigers return Justyn Ross and Amari Rodgers, two guys with a ton of experience, as well as senior Cornell Powell and sophomores Joseph Ngata and Frank Ladson, who got a lot of experience in 2019 as true freshmen.

They also have freshman E.J. Williams in the mix, who enrolled at Clemson in January so he could participate in spring practice.

“All of those guys are better. Joe and Frank first of all are just as I thought they would be,” Swinney said. “I thought they both had some moments last year. Frank missed all of camp with his foot and he was hurt and he came back. He literally got back on game week.

“That really kind of set him back and it took him a little while. He had his moments and learned. He had some great days in practice and things like that. He looks like a different guy. I love what I have seen out of him.”

Ladson enters 2020 having caught nine passes for 128 yards with three touchdowns while playing in 15 games last year. He made his collegiate debut against Georgia Tech, catching a 21-yard touchdown pass from Chase Brice on his first career reception. He recorded a highlight reel 7-yard touchdown catch at Syracuse as well.

Ngata was officially listed as Higgins’ backup in 2019. Last season, the rising sophomore caught 17 passes for 240 yards and three receiving touchdowns while playing in all 15 games. He caught his first career touchdown pass vs. Charlotte, catching a 37-yard score from Brice while leading Clemson in receptions (three) and receiving yards (62) that evening at Death Valley. He also caught touchdown passes against Louisville and Wake Forest.

“Joe just made big plays all year. Physically, he is pretty special, and mentally, he is caught up. Technically and fundamentally, he has made a huge step. I’m pleased with him,” Swinney said.

Brannon Spector played in three games last year, while catching three passes for 16 yards. The new owner of the famous No. 13 jersey has a lot of potential to be as good as the previous owner … Hunter Renfrow. With Tyler Grisham now coaching the wide receivers, Spector will get a firsthand account of being coached, as a redshirt freshman, by a guy who played the slot position at Clemson. Grisham started in the slot from 2005-’08, while being coached by Dabo Swinney.

Grisham was the guy who started the proud No. 13 jersey tradition at wide receiver. Spector is the younger brother of linebacker Baylon Spector and the son of former Clemson player Robbie Spector, who played on the 1988-’90 teams.

“Spector has a chance to be a super player. I think he is going to have an unbelievable career,” Swinney said. “He has four years to go. I think he can be one of those guys that can do some great things.”

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