Despite missing a lot of time in fall camp while being held out due to COVID-19 safety protocols, Clemson sophomore wide receivers Frank Ladson and Joseph Ngata made a seamless transition back into practice once they were cleared to return toward the end of August, and both are ready to go Saturday night when the Tigers open the 2020 season against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“Definitely pleased with where those guys are,” Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said this week, “and how they’ve come back from the time that they had off and really just kind of jumped right back in and didn’t miss a beat.”
Although Ladson and Ngata could not physically participate in practice for an extended period of time, they both made an effort to remain locked in from a mental standpoint and stay up to speed with the offense.
“Credit to both of those guys and what they did prior to the start of fall camp,” Elliott said. “Unfortunate, the situation with the protocols where they missed some time, but I’ve been pleased since they’ve been back. They really have done a good job while they were out making sure that they were staying abreast of what we’re doing. Grish (receivers coach Tyler Grisham) did a good job of keeping those guys engaged, involved in the plan and the install with the offense.”
As true freshmen last season, Ngata and Ladson each played in all 15 games for the Tigers and combined for 26 catches, 368 receiving yards and six touchdowns (three apiece).
The Tigers are counting on the talented duo to step up this season and take on bigger roles with Justyn Ross out for the year due to offseason spinal surgery, and Elliott believes they are primed to do just that and poised to be playmakers at wideout in 2020.
“Since they’ve been back, definitely feel like they’re ready to play,” Elliott said. “Definitely feel like those guys are ready to have a breakout season. It’s just a matter of getting them to the game, getting them opportunities and then them taking advantage of the opportunities.”
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