After Chad Kelly tore his ACL in the Orange-White spring game, he got some words of encouragement from Jim Kelly, his NFL Hall of Fame uncle.
"He said it might be the best thing that ever happened to me because now I would stay in the pocket a lot more," Kelly said earlier this week, after making his debut against South Carolina State.
Charone Peake, who tore his ACL during a non-contact drill on Tuesday, has not yet discovered his blessing in disguise.
But it will certainly include the encouragement of his friends and teammates, several of whom have been through the same rehab, and in all likelihood will include a medical redshirt year.
Unlike teammate Tony Steward, whose ACL injury two seasons ago cost him a year of eligibility, Peake's injury fits safely inside the NCAA's 30 percent cutoff for a medical exemption.
Peake played as a true freshman in 2011, and has not redshirted.
"We'll see if we can get his year back, and he'll be a junior again next year," said Dabo Swinney. "He'll be just fine. It’s always tough for a young person when they have to come to grips with something like that because they love to play, but it’s something that they have to do. Our prayers are with Charone. We’ll get him well and get him back as soon as we can."
With Peake having emerged as a mainstay in the receiving corps, the Tigers will have to look to younger players like Germone Hopper, Mike Williams and T.J. Green to help carry the load.
Especially valuable in the short term may be Porter, a redshirt junior from Charleston, S.C. who played in eight games and caught two passes a year ago.
Swinney said Wednesday that versatility is a plus.
“Adam can play anywhere and he'll slide into Charone’s spot," Swinney said. “Adam can also play the 2-man. Sammy can play the 9-man. G-Hop (Hopper) can play the 2 and the 5. And Matt Porter can play anywhere too.”
The decision to invest heavy reps and early playing time for Williams and Green is looking like a good one.
"We made that decision early that we were going to play those two freshmen just because it’s a long season and we don’t have great depth," Swinney said. "Everybody thinks that we have all of these wide outs around here. We’ve got some pretty good players, but we don’t have a lot of depth. We’ve got six guys on scholarship now, and our number is 10 at the position. We’ve got what we’ve got and we’ll make it work.”
Clemson currently has two wide receivers committed for its 2014 recruiting class - Demarre Kitt of Tyrone, Ga., and Artavis Scott of Tarpon Springs, Fla.
Clemson has offers out to several other 2014 receivers, including top-rated Malachi Dupre of River Ridge, La., Trevion Thompson of Durham, N.C., Josh Malone of Gallatin, Tenn., Jamil Kamara of Virginia Beach, Va., and Braxton Berrios of Raleigh, N.C.
Other players of interest include Moral Stephens of Perry, Fla., Trevon Lee of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Kendrick Holland of Winter Haven, Fla., Quinton Flowers of Miami, Fla., and Myles Autry of Norcross, Ga.