Tigers' next-wave receivers: much like 2011, a staggering array of talent

Nationally second-ranked Deon Cain the latest in a string of elite Clemson wideouts

Deon Cain (Tampa Bay Tech photo)

Deon Cain (Tampa Bay Tech photo)

In the fall of 2010, as Clemson struggled its way to a 6-7 finish that put Dabo Swinney's long-term future in doubt, the foundation blocks were being laid for a resurgence that has not only solidified Swinney's job but has made the Tigers a player in the national championship conversation.

Swinney was pondering a major offensive change, and at the same time, he and his staff were working the recruiting trail - against the odds assembling a group of playmaking wide receivers that would prove to be the perfect complement to Chad Morris' tempo-driven offense.

In mid-November, before the season ended with losses to South Carolina and South Florida, Sammy Watkins shocked the Florida recruiting community in C.J. Spiller-like fashion, when he focused out-of-state and committed to Clemson over Michigan.

Martavis Bryant, who had signed with the Tigers in 2010 but landed at Hargrave Military in the fall, had already affirmed his commitment, while Clemson had started off its receiver class back during the summer with a commitment from Charone Peake.

At some point in the run-up to signing day, 2011, Watkins, Peake and Bryant were all ranked as the nation's No. 1 receiver prospect by somebody.

Swinney completed his class with the additions of unheralded in-staters Adam Humphries, a high school teammate of Peake's, and Stanton Seckinger, a prolific pass-catcher out of private school Porter Gaud in Charleston.

Clemson's wide receiver class was hailed as the nation's best, and they joined DeAndre Hopkins and Jaron Brown in rejuvenating the Tiger offense under the leadership of Morris and quarterback Tajh Boyd.

Hopkins, Brown, Watkins and Bryant have all moved on to the NFL, Humphries is a rising senior, Peake a rising redshirt junior because of the season-ending ACL injury he suffered early last fall, and Seckinger move to tight end.

Clemson hasn't let up at all in its pursuit of elite, playmaking wide receivers, and its ability to attract the best of the best has only been enhanced by the success of the players who've passed through the program.

Receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott noted last week that the Tigers' NFL foursome has signed NFL contracts worth a total of $31.7 million, led by Hopkins and Watkins going as back-to-back first-rounders.

The addition of Tampa, Florida's Deon Cain - who is ranked as high as the No. 1 wideout in the nation -last week was No. 8 in what can be considered the new wave of Clemson receivers.

In 2012, the Tigers added Germone Hopper of Charlotte, North Carolina to the fold, and then in 2013 picked up Mike Williams from Lake Santee, South Carolina - both rated as the top wideout prospects in their states.

A year ago, Swinney added a group that compares favorably to the Tigers' 2011 class - Artavis Scott out of Tarpon Springs, Fla., Demarre Kitt out of Tyrone, Georgia, Kyrin Priester out of Snellville, Georgia, and Trevion Thompson from Durham, N.C.

Scott, Kitt and Priester arrived in January, and have already worked their way into second-team positions on the Tigers' depth chart.

They'll be joined later this summer by Thompson, and then the following season by Cain and Shadell Bell, out of Decatur, Georgia.

The recruiting rankings scorecard says that down the road, the good times will continue for the Tigers on the wide receivers front.

Priester came into the program ranked No. 1 among prep school receivers.

Kitt was ranked as high as No. 8 nationally; Scott as high as No. 9; and Thompson as high as No. 15 (after being ranked as the nation's No. 1 receiver following his sophomore season).

Bell is ranked as high as No. 10 in the 2015 class, while Cain is ranked No. 2 on one list and No. 5 on another.

Collectively, it's a staggering amount of talent.

Just like in 2011.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 8

fasttiger44#293363 writes:

With all that talent at wide receiver we should be able to make a first down if the quarterback throws the ball close to them. I don't think any one player can ever replace Sammy but, two or three of them can. And have something left over in case one of them mess up.

clemvol writes:

I would settle for a staggering array of wins against the "lamecocks". Anyone else?

TigerNE writes:

We are also improving the caliber of running backs recently. If we land Nyheim Hines and maybe pick up Ray Ray McCloud on Deon Cain's shirt tails, we can brag about a well balanced offense. Those two in addition to Gallman, Dye, Choice, etc., looks pretty good.

Xander5000 writes:

The other running backs have talent...yes, but Dye's running style, his ability, and him staying injury free, will only propel this team to a successful 2 or 3 spot if not more.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to clemvol:

I would settle for a staggering array of wins against the "lamecocks". Anyone else?

Good luck with that clemmervile. They haven't been too lame recently...have they? Such lofty predictions from the faithful..with so much unproven "talent."

clemvol writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

Good luck with that clemmervile. They haven't been too lame recently...have they? Such lofty predictions from the faithful..with so much unproven "talent."

No they haven't with Clemson, just "lame" with always being a "wannabe but can't be" in your conference. It just kills me to lose to a "runner up".

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to clemvol:

No they haven't with Clemson, just "lame" with always being a "wannabe but can't be" in your conference. It just kills me to lose to a "runner up".

And that would make Clemmons...a second runner up?

clemvol writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

And that would make Clemmons...a second runner up?

For now.

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