Does the whole Justyn Ross injury and situation sound familiar at Clemson?
It does. And it happened in 2015.
To get everyone up to speed, in case you had not heard, Ross will have surgery on Friday and will not play during the upcoming 2020 football season. After undergoing an X-ray this spring that looked at his back and spine following an injury in March, the Clemson wide receiver learned he has a congenital fusion, which is something he was born with. The doctors also discovered he had a bulging disk, which only aggravated the situation.
With Ross out for the year, it means Clemson is without its two best receivers from the year before. Tee Higgins left Clemson for the riches of the NFL and was selected with 33 overall pick in the draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
That leaves Clemson with veteran receivers Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell to carry the load, while sophomores Joseph Ngata and Frank Ladson try to come into their own. Ngata was likely going to be the Tigers’ starter on the field side, but he now shifts back to the boundary, while Powell and Ladson will battle it out for the starting position on the field.
Clemson also has a redshirt freshman receiver and two true freshmen who will be thrown into the mix as well, to go along with tight end Braden Galloway.
In 2015, Mike Williams was injured on the opening drive of the season when he hit a goal post head-first while catching a touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson. Williams fractured his neck and missed the rest of the season and the next spring while rehabbing.
With Williams out, the Tigers had veteran players Artavis Scott and Charone Peake, but the rest of the lineup was young at wide receiver. Deon Cain and Ray Ray McCloud were freshmen, while Hunter Renfrow was a redshirt freshman. They also had Trevion Thompson and Germone Hooper in the mix.
The good news for Clemson, is it worked out. With Watson running the controls, the Clemson offense still put up impressive numbers without Williams as it advanced to College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
The Tigers averaged 514.5 yards per game, while scoring 577 points. Eight Clemson receivers had at least 21 catches and nine had at least 10. Scott led the team with 901 yards on 93 catches, while scoring six touchdowns. Peake became the deep threat, catching 50 passes for 716 yards and five touchdowns.
Then there was Jordan Leggett. The tight end tied a Clemson record for a tight end with eight touchdowns receptions. He became Watson’s go-to guy in the red zone and finished the season with 40 catches for 525 yards.
By the way, that guy Hunter Renfrow, he became a star against Alabama in the national championship game and finished the year with 34 catches for 492 yards and five touchdowns.
Does any of this sound familiar? It should.
This year, Clemson’s has a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback in Trevor Lawrence and has a group of wide receivers and pass catchers that are solid enough for the Tigers to get the job done.
The only thing Clemson fans hope this time is that the end result isn’t the same.
Clemson fans, now is the time to support the local businesses.
A great gift for any Tiger fan. Just one of many great items available from Clemson Variety & Frame