Clemson wide receiver Frank Ladson Jr. has been inconsistent at times this season, which is not necessarily surprising for a young player, even one as talented as he is.
Though the former consensus top-50 national recruit has experienced highs and lows through the first five games of his sophomore campaign with the Tigers, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott is confident Ladson will eventually put it all together and tap into his full potential – it’s just a matter of when, in Elliott’s opinion.
“I think it’s just a matter of time with Frank, and he’s going to keep getting opportunities, keep getting opportunities, keep getting coached, keep getting coached,” Elliott said. “The more he’s coached, the more opportunities he has, the more he’s going to become comfortable with everything we’re asking him to do, and he’s going to skyrocket.
“As long as the young man is going to continue to fight and continue to work through ups and downs, he’s going to have a chance in the end to be where he wants to be.”
Ladson is third on the team in receptions (15) and receiving yards (243) behind Amari Rodgers and Travis Etienne, respectively, and second only to Rodgers with three touchdown receptions. The Miami native recorded career highs with three receptions, 87 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns vs. The Citadel, sharing team offensive player of the game honors, before gaining 71 yards on a new-career-high five receptions vs. Virginia.
While Ladson has been productive and shown what he is capable of this season, his numbers would be even better if not for a couple of drops downfield, including one against Miami that likely would have resulted in a touchdown.
Ladson also was unable to haul in a catchable deep ball from Trevor Lawrence last Saturday at Georgia Tech on a play that Dabo Swinney said he “needs to make,” but responded by catching an 8-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence in the second quarter after making the right adjustment on a corner blitz, and he had a big third-down conversion on a slant route in the contest as well.
“Really proud of him, and that’s what I told him at halftime,” Elliott said. “I said hey man, we took a shot, didn’t come up with it. But hey, you came back and you were the last progression on the little naked (bootleg) we had over there, and he was the last progression and the quarterback found him and he converted for a touchdown. So, he was able to bounce back, and that’s what I’m proud of.”
The Tigers will keep trying to build Ladson’s confidence up with lots of reps in practice, and Elliott expects his confidence to grow with each passing day and practice.
“We all know what Frank is capable of and we know that there’s still a lot of room within his ceiling, and it’s our job as coaches to find the buttons to push,” Elliott said. “One, give him opportunities, and then find the buttons to push when he may not play to his highest level.”
Another championship season is underway for the Tigers. It’s time to gear up for another year of Clemson football.
Please stay safe and get your officially licensed Clemson gear right here!