The Clemson offense got a big shot in the arm on Jan. 14, when wide receiver Justyn Ross announced he is returning to Clemson for one more season.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound receiver missed all of the 2020 season after undergoing spinal surgery last June. Though nothing officially was released by Clemson on Ross’ current health status, it seems certain the star receiver was cleared to play given the video of his return posted on Clemson Football’s official social media platforms.
Ross played in 29 games and started 14 of them across the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He has 112 career receptions for 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns. He is averaging 16.7 yards per catch in his career.
Though Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had already said Ross will likely be limited in the spring, and will not participate in any contact drills, the redshirt junior will be the Tigers’ starter at the boundary position. He was penciled in that spot prior to his injury last spring.
Though he started to practice in October, Swinney said they still want to bring him back slowly in the spring and have him ready for contact when fall camp begins in August.
Here is the likely depth chart Clemson will use at the boundary wide receiver position this spring.
Justyn Ross, *Jr., 6-4, 205: Ross missed all of the 2020 season after undergoing spinal surgery last June. There was a time when some wondered if the honorable mention All-ACC wide receiver was going to even play football again. With Ross’ return, Clemson gets back a legitimate gamebreaker at wide receiver. The Tigers already had the potential of having game-changing playmakers at wideout in 2021. Joseph Ngata and Frank Ladson are expected to be at full strength after suffering through a season of nagging injuries in 2020. E.J. Williams, who played with Ross in high school, emerged as a playmaker late in the 2020 campaign and is a legit All-ACC caliber player. Williams finished the season with 24 receptions for 306 yards and two touchdowns.
Joseph Ngata, Jr., 6-3, 220: Ngata enters 2021 credited with 24 receptions for 323 yards and three receiving touchdowns while playing in 22 games, including three starts. He missed five games in 2020 due to abdomen issue he suffered in the season opener. The injury stuck with him all season and he finally had surgery in November. He missed the last four games of the season. He caught seven passes for 83 yards in the seven games he played in.
Ajou Ajou, *Fr., 6-3, 215: A native of Canada, Ajou showed off his potential against Georgia Tech when he had a 35-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. He broke seven tackles on his way to the end zone on the play. He also caught a long pass down the sideline, which was overturned due to a penalty. He played in 10 games overall, while catching two passes for 41 yards.