Impact Freshmen: Nathaniel Wiggins

Impact Freshmen: Nathaniel Wiggins

Football

Impact Freshmen: Nathaniel Wiggins

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Most of the players that Clemson signed in December have already arrived on campus to start their college careers.

Of the 19 players the Tigers inked during the early signing period, a dozen of them enrolled early on Jan. 3, giving themselves the opportunity to participate in spring practice and a better chance to make an immediate impact in the fall by getting ahead of the game.

In our Impact Freshmen series detailing Clemson’s midyear enrollees, The Clemson Insider takes an in-depth look at cornerback Nathaniel Wiggins:

Position: CB

Hometown (high school): Atlanta, Ga. (Westlake)

Listed height, weight: 6-2, 170

Prospect ratings/rankings: 4-star, No. 6 CB, No. 9 state, No. 75 national (247Sports); 4-star, No. 12 CB, No. 13 state, No. 149 national (Rivals); 4-star, No. 15 CB, No. 25 state, No. 225 national (ESPN)

High school profile: In the first nine games he played at Westlake High School in Atlanta in 2020, he was very productive on offense despite limited appearances on that side of the ball … had a 71-yard rush for a touchdown, had one kickoff return for 75 yards and had 11 receptions for 323 yards and four touchdowns … averaged 29.4 yards per reception … played at Grady High School in 2018 and 2019 … had 18 receptions for 262 yards and two scores in 2018 … selected for All-American Bowl … had two career interception returns for touchdowns, including one of 100 yards

Strengths: An athletic two-way player in high school at defensive back and wide receiver, Wiggins also played basketball at Grady High School. He went up against top competition in the Peach State at 5A Grady and 6A Westlake High. A tough, smooth and instinctual player, Wiggins is big and long at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and has top-end speed. He has the potential to be a shutdown cover corner at the next level thanks in part to his quickness and agility, while he has the size and ball skills to go up and win one-on-one contested 50-50 catches. Once the ball is in his hands, Wiggins is a dynamic playmaker who can make the opposition pay with his run-after-catch ability.

How he fits in: Clemson pulled off a big coup when it flipped Wiggins from LSU less than a week before the start of the early signing period. While he could play safety if the Tigers wanted or needed him to, Wiggins was signed as a cornerback. Clemson has plenty of depth at corner, with Derion Kendrick deciding to return next season to go along with talented guys like Andrew Booth, Sheridan Jones, Mario Goodrich, Malcolm Greene and Fred Davis. But as the lone cornerback signee in Clemson’s 2021 class, and being an early enrollee, Wiggins will have an opportunity to come right in and compete for early playing time.

Wiggins has drawn comparisons to another former Westlake standout – former Clemson and current Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell. The Tigers hit a home run when they signed Wiggins, and they believe he has a very bright future ahead and the chance to be special.

Coach speak: Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney on Wiggins: “I mean, this guy is unbelievable. He is a long guy, can fly, got elite speed, tough… But he had a different path that he was going in recruiting, and for whatever reason circumstances changed and next thing you know we’re looking for a corner, and boom – here we are. So, that’s all I can say. This is just God’s favor getting this young man right here.”

Clemson cornerbacks coach Mike Reed on Wiggins: “He’s dynamic. When you turn on the film and you watch Nate play, you’ll see a guy that’s just a blazer with the ball in his hands. Very confident, goes against great competition, has played against some of our former players here. And you’re talking about A.J. Terrell, this is one in the bigger version, taller. So, I’m ecstatic about this one.”

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