Tigers turning the heat down on Ajou, while Williams is ‘out of the oven’

Tigers turning the heat down on Ajou, while Williams is ‘out of the oven’

Football

Tigers turning the heat down on Ajou, while Williams is ‘out of the oven’

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Clemson freshmen wide receivers E.J. Williams and Ajou Ajou are both making progress in their development, and each made plays and saw plenty of action Saturday during the top-ranked Tigers’ 73-7 demolition of Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.

Williams is further along than Ajou, according to Dabo Swinney. But Clemson’s head coach added that Ajou – who played only two seasons of high school football, one in Canada and one in Florida – is coming along nicely.

“E.J., I kind of told him this week that I really felt like we got the cake out of the oven,” Swinney said during his postgame press conference. “The cake’s baked. I asked him what his favorite icing is because that’s really all we’re doing with him is just kind of putting the icing on.

“Ajou’s still baking a little bit, but I turned the heat down. He’s got a little more baking to do, but you saw what he can do. I mean, he just has so much to learn, but he is going to be a special player.”

Ajou recorded his first career touchdown on a highlight-reel play in the fourth quarter. The Brooks, Alberta, native took a screen pass from Hunter Helms to the house for a 35-yard score, breaking several tackles and fighting through another defender en route to the end zone.

Ajou nearly scored another touchdown on Clemson’s previous possession when he made an athletic grab near the corner of the end zone on a pass from Helms, though after initially being ruled a touchdown, the call was reversed after replay review as it was determined his feet hit the pylon, which is considered out of bounds, before the ball crossed the goal line.

“It was really cool that he was able to (score),” Swinney said. “It was just a simple little screen, and he just turned it into a spectacular (play). He looked like a big ole grandaddy long legs running down the field. I mean, it was a spectacular play, as was his catch. It’s unfortunate that they barely ruled him out. So, pretty cool to see him come back and fight and get a touchdown.”

As for Williams, who caught a couple of passes for 29 yards, he saw the field early and often Saturday and will continue to get early playing time moving forward in the season according to Swinney.

“You see us getting him in there early and you’ll continue to see that,” Swinney said. “He’s a kid, like I said – that cake is baked, it’s just putting a little icing on him now. He’s a very talented freshman and has a bright, bright future. So, he’s a shot in the arm for us.”

Another championship season is underway for the Tigers. It’s time to gear up for another year of Clemson football.

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