Is there anyone better? Tiger receivers show their elite potential in spring game

Watkins plays with an edge; Bryant makes spectacular catches; Peake, Humphries, Hopper shine

Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant catches a touchdown pass over Clemson corner back Dante Stewart during the Orange-White Spring Football Game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant catches a touchdown pass over Clemson corner back Dante Stewart during the Orange-White Spring Football Game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Coming out of high school, Sammy Watkins, Charone Peake and Martavis Bryant were all, at one time, rated by someone as the nation's No. 1 receiver.

Based on their collective performance on Saturday, and complemented by the likes of Adam Humphries and Germone Hopper, it's hard to imagine anyone fielding a better core group of wide receivers next fall than Clemson.

Quarterbacks Cole Stoudt (24), Nick Schuessler (34), Donny McElveen (11) and Chad Kelly (7) put the ball in the air 76 times, collectively, so there were plenty of opportunities for the Tigers' pass-catchers to show their stuff.

Watkins showed his form, and his ability to read and find holes in coverage, to the tune of seven receptions, 156 yards and two touchdowns. Peake led all receivers with eight catches, while Bryant had seven (as did freshman tight end Jordan Leggett). Hopper added five catches and Humphries grabbed two passes for 77 yards, including a touchdown.

Bryant was spectacular, making a series of tough catches in traffic and on the sideline. His teammates say that's been the norm all spring.

Also promising was the running of Zac Brooks and D.J. Howard, who combined for 92 yards on 14 carries. Likely starter Rod McDowell played sparingly, and carried the ball just three times.

On the offensive line, coach Dabo Swinney said he saw good things from Isaiah Battle and Eric Mac Lain, among others.

The secondary gave up too many big plays, but the coaches seemed generally satisfied with the performance of both Robert Smith and Travis Blanks at safety, and of Darius Robinson, Martin Jenkins and Garry Peters at cornerback. Bashaud Breeland didn't play on Saturday because of an ankle injury.

Jadar Johnson and Ronald Geohaghan had their moments, good and bad, and Swinney says both walk-ons Taylor Watson and Dante Stewart will help the Tigers this season.

The defensive line performed at a high level, as expected. Corey Crawford and Vic Beasley showed a clear edge over their younger teammates at defensive end, but everyone had flashes.

Rising sophomore linebacker B.J. Goodson showed his nose for the football with 13 tackles, while Robert Smith and DeShawn Williams had seven each.

Grady Jarrett had three sacks, while Beasley, Tavaris Barnes and Williams each had two.

Kellen Jones, Robinson and Blanks intercepted passes. Jones returned his for 44 yards.

Kicker Bradley Pinion got a workout, as he handled kickoffs, punts and field goals. He put his kickoffs into the end zone, and had field goals of 41 and 43 yards, and a punt of 58 yards. Daniel Rodriguez held on his field goal and PAT attempts.

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Comments » 3

jarheadtiger writes:

Having taken my annual Grain of salt, I hope this is a sign of things to come. If Watkins plays like he did his Freshman year, and Peake & Bryant play to their ability, should be a lot of catches this year. Notice I said nothing about Humphries? Why? Well because like many of you even if you dont realize, you always count on anything thrown near him as a catch. Is it just me, or is he yet another in a long line of solid young possession recivers to come to the Tigers. Starting back as far as I can recall with Joe Don Reames(GREAT returner), Tyler Grisham(most solid reciver on the team with respect to Kelly), and now Humph, these young men have come to play. I know Tyler was #13 but dang, it seems that 16 is a pretty good number for a solid pass catcher. I hope to see them spread it around, keep some of the heat off of Watkins and then break it off on some DB's this year!

SoCalTiger writes:

After getting just a taste of things to come, it seems clear that every defense that this Tigers' offense lines up across from this season is going to have their hands full trying to cover all of these weapons. Especially if the Tigers fire off 85-100 plays a game. Freight train's a'comin'.

jarheadtiger writes:

I know we do wanna run a lot of plays, but it would also make me happy if we can also get a bit of a MeatGrinder Offense going as well. I have heard that Coach Morris wants a big Back, well, we shall see. Take some pressure off Boyd and get those linemen firing off, the backs running down hill makes the WR's even more potent!

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