“He's 6-5, can fly and can catch a football,” Swinney said, analyzing junior receiver Martavis Bryant’s game this spring, before a particularly big caveat.
"But we're much more than that in this program. I'd much rather lose doing it right than to win knowing I'm doing it wrong."
Swinney was referring to the T.L. Hanna product sitting out the Chick-fil-A Bowl (academics), but he says Bryant has done enough and more to put that behind him.
“I've had nothing on him,” said Swinney mid-spring practice. “I mean nothing - not one thing in any area. I'm proud of him. He's never been this consistent in any area. And it's showing up on the field.”
That is the scary proposition this fall for opponents facing a player the big-play caliber of Bryant.
He led the nation with a 30.5 yards per catch average last season. Over the last two years, Bryant has averaged 27.7 yards per reception, and with a snap count sure to go up, his average career receiving yards (263) will certainly as well:
2012: 245 snaps - 10 catches - 305 yards - 4 TDs
2011: 195 snaps – 9 catches -221 yards - 2 TDs
Bryant enters 2013 behind Sammy Watkins on the post-spring depth chart at the boundary spot. Adam Humphries and Charone Peake, also juniors, man the other two main receiver positions.
He’s been a top-five receiver each season on campus, but Bryant has had just one game of at least three receptions, where he also hauled in a career-high 82 yards (at Wake Forest, 2012).
Projection - Brandon Rink (O&W)
Breakout Season: 40 catches – 800 yards – 9 TDs
Bust: 14 catches – 200 yards – 2 TDs
2013 Outlook: 28 catches – 504 yards - 6 TDs
Phil Steele projects Bryant making his fourth-team All-ACC list (top-eight in the conference). The top-10 receivers in the conference all topped 700 yards last season.
With more playing time, his numbers will certainly improve, but that’s a pretty big jump from 19 catches over the last two seasons.
Bryant’s receptions indeed go up, while his extraordinary career yards per catch average goes down, as one of Clemson’s top options this fall.
Projection - Marty Coleman (SeldomUsedReserve.com)
SUR 2013 Forecast: WR Martavis Bryant
With no evidence that Bryant will be part of the short passing game, I expect more of the same from Bryant in 2012.
Bryant’s playing time, receptions, yards and touchdowns will increase, but his per catch average will decrease (yet remains incredibly high). Check out more on how Coleman got to those numbers here.