By all accounts, Clemson will be losing the most prolific receiver in school history...for a second consecutive season.
But thanks to recruiting – both of the top and under-the-radar talents – the Tigers will be just fine come 2014.
Assuming Watkins is the only departure, Clemson brings back almost 65 percent of its '13 yards (64.2) and 62 of the touchdowns. Back in the mix will be speedy 6-4 receiver Charone Peake, after a knee injury cut his season short after only two weeks.
"We have a lot of talent," junior receiver Adam Humphries said. "Obviously Mike Williams is making a lot of big plays. We'll have Charone Peake back. We all know what he can do. G-Hop's rising to the occasion as a redshirt freshman. We'll see with the young wide receivers coming in the spring what they can do.
"I think we have a bright future at the wideout position."
That group of incoming freshmen are all enrolling early in four-stars Artavis Scott (5-10 175, Tarpon Springs, Fla.), Demarre Kitt (6-1 182, Tyrone, Ga.) and Kyrin Priester (6-2 185, Snellville, Ga.).
Humphries, meanwhile, stands to be the old man in the group.
"It was really weird not playing with Nuk (Hopkins) this year," he said. "Being on the field with him all the time, you get used to communicating with him. Me and Sammy have been playing together for three years so it will be really weird not playing with him."
The Dorman product has increased his production level each season, totaling the Tigers' second-most catches (41) and third-most yards (483) on the year.
His head coach earlier in the season, and teammate Sammy Watkins more recently, have reiterated Humphries' pro potential as a versatile receiver and a solid option on special teams.
"Hearing that from another player who's obviously going to have a long career in the NFL – it means a lot," Humphries said, “from all of the hard work I've gone through being a freshman all the way to now. Getting that respect from other players is pretty cool."
Coming in as unheralded prospect, he's happy to readjust his after-Clemson plans.
"Honestly coming into college, I never thought about it," said Humphries, "but as I continued to grow in the system and perform on the field, it's obviously in the back of my head. Now that people are saying it, I guess it's something I would like to do and I'm going to continue to work to get there."