Streeter asked what needs to happen for Clemson to reclaim 'WRU' label

Streeter asked what needs to happen for Clemson to reclaim 'WRU' label

Football

Streeter asked what needs to happen for Clemson to reclaim 'WRU' label

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Clemson has a rich tradition at wide receiver, having consistently produced NFL talent at the position over the years, and that has led to the program being labeled by many as “Wide Receiver U.”

However, that reputation has taken a bit of a hit over the past couple of years as the Tigers’ production at wide receiver has dipped. Last season, Justyn Ross was Clemson’s leading receiver with only 46 catches for 514 yards and three touchdowns. This year, freshman Antonio Williams holds the high marks among Tiger wideouts with 50 catches and 523 yards, while his four touchdown receptions are tied for second on the team behind Beaux Collins’ five.

The last Clemson receiver to reach 1,000 receiving yards was Amari Rodgers in 2020 (1,020). The Tigers had a 1,000-yard receiver every season from 2018-20.

On Monday, Clemson offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter met with the media and was asked what he believes the drop-off in receiver productivity can be attributed to, and what needs to happen for the Tigers to reclaim their “WRU” standing.

“That’s a great title to have, ‘Wide Receiver U.’ I would say it’s QBU, I’d say it’s OLU – I’d say there’s a lot of positions that could probably say that,” Streeter said. “And I would just say for this year – I mentioned this before in the past – that we have guys that we can really spread the ball around in a lot of different ways. Obviously, we haven’t been as productive in the passing game, so that’s something that we can do a better job of, of finishing on some plays and making the plays at quarterback. There’s a variety of reasons maybe for that.”

As for spreading the ball around, Streeter pointed to the involvement of tight ends and running backs in Clemson’s passing game.

Tight end Davis Allen, who has four touchdown catches this season, is second behind Williams with 32 catches and third on the team with 374 receiving yards. Running back Will Shipley is right behind Allen in receptions with 30, good for third on the team.

After wide receivers Joseph Ngata (28 catches, 396 yards) and Collins (22 catches, 373 yards), tight end Jake Briningstool ranks sixth on the team with 21 catches that have yielded 255 yards and four touchdowns.

Besides Williams, Ngata and Collins, Brannon Spector is the other Clemson wide receiver with double-digit catches this season to date (14). Behind him in receptions is running back Phil Mafah with eight.

“I do think that our tight end room has been very, very good, and we’ve been able to spread the ball out to those guys,” Streeter said. “And being able to get our running backs in the passing game a lot more, too, has allowed this offense to be able to spread it out more as far as who’s getting the ball.

“So, we haven’t had maybe that one or two guys that have just had the ton of ton of catches maybe like we have in the past. Antonio has the most catches obviously, and he’s done a really good job.”

Streeter added that for Clemson’s pass-catchers, it’s about continuing to “get better and continue to grow from some of the mistakes or miscues.”

“But we’ve got some talented guys,” he added, “and we’re going to continue to trust in those guys and continue to give them confidence.”

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