Ajou Ajou is looking to separate himself from a developmental standpoint as he enters his second season with Clemson.
While he’s still learning, the Canada native has an enormous amount of potential.
From a physical standpoint, he was up to 230 pounds at one point this offseason, but according to Clemson wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham, Ajou is likely closer to 210 now.
“I saw him the other day and he looked more chiseled,” Grisham said during last week’s media availability. “I want to say ‘thinner,’ but I don’t think any athlete wants to be called ‘thin.’ But, he looked really good.
“For him, he can carry 235, but at 210-215, he can be able to have that stamina that you want at wide receiver. We want to be in the most shape group on the field. He can run a go-route, come right back and run another one. For him, that’s going to be important to have the conditioning to stay on the field and not come off.”
Grisham reiterated that Ajou looks great physically and he’s really excited to see where he’s at come fall camp.
Ajou continues to make big strides, this comes after an impressive Spring Game performance in which he hauled in six passes for 102 yards, which included a 16-yard touchdown reception.
Grisham is impressed with what he’s been able to see out of Ajou this far, which has practically been night and day.
“Really just a 180, he surprised himself, I think even,” Grisham said when asked what he’s seen from Ajou through the spring. “I’ve always told him: ‘Hey man, you’re a phenomenal, phenomenal athlete. You have just God-given ability and talent that just oozes from you. Let’s take all that talent and let’s really focus on those details. You’ve always been the best that can jump and jump over somebody and catch it and run fast.’ But, at this level, you can’t get away with just being a great athlete, you have to be a technician.
“He’s been able to do that. He’s worked really hard on his breakpoints, he’s worked really hard on his flexibility, his fluidity, in and out of his breaks. Even his stance is starked. When the ball’s snapped, he had so many false movements when the ball was snapped, so trying to tighten that up and make him more efficient and it’s shown.”
As Grisham alluded to before, that discipline was on display during Clemson’s Spring Game. According to Grisham, it’s easy to tell when he’s playing with confidence and understanding the playbook. The Tigers had stuck Ajou at one position to create that confidence and they now have him playing more of the boundary and the field side.
That confidence potentially stems from Ajou’s commitment to the classroom.
“Off the field, he’s done well,” Grisham said. “He’s committed more academically. That’s a thing for our guys to understand. You’re not in the NFL, you are a scholar-athlete. If you can focus off the field and really how you do anything is how you do everything. Let’s focus on being great academically, let’s focus on being accountable in these areas. That’s going to transfer to the field and you saw that.
“I think that light went off, ‘You’re right coach, I’ve done so much better in these areas and it’s showing up on the field.’ So he’s excited, heading into this fall.”