When Sammy Watkins must sit out for the game against Auburn, Clemson faithful shouldn’t be too worried. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris thinks this wide receiving core is one of the most talented in the country. Let’s take a look.
DeAndre Hopkins- This junior was electric last year. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Last season Hopkins caught 72 passes for 978 yards and five touchdowns. Hopkins is always consistent, and a great junior season could mean he’s drafted on day one in April.
Charone Peake- He admitted he didn’t have the season he wanted to last year. He caught four passes and had zero touchdowns. Peake said he didn’t have a good fall camp last year, and that’s where he lost his confidence. But this year, Swinney said if there’s one guy that’s on a mission on this team, it’s Peake. Pretty high praise. Can you say breakout year?
Martavis Bryant- This sophomore is another guy who has gained experience and confidence this off-season. After a stellar season at Hargrave Military Academy two years ago, Bryant’s size limited his potential last year. However, now Peake is listed at 206, up 20 pounds from when he first put on a Clemson uniform.
Adam Humphries- This guy is Sammy’s backup. He is extremely speedy, and Morris always has high praise for him. It’s his time to shine against Auburn and Ball State with Watkins on the sideline.
Jaron Brown- This guy will not only provide senior leadership, but he’ll provide a knack for making plays when they’re needed most. He had close to 500 yards receiving last year. Brown and Peake will give each other great competition for the starting job.
Branden Ford- Morris has said this guy can be as good as he wants to be. Ford has had four years to learn from pro Dwayne Allen. Morris loves to utilize the tight end, and Ford’s got as good a shot as any to lead this team with receptions. He converted to tight end from wide receiver in 2010.
I’ll predict that despite Clemson’s youth on the offensive line, these wide receivers will put up even better numbers this year. They’ll be tested early; Auburn has twelve returning guys who have experience in the secondary, including seven that have started at least one game.