Projecting receiver numbers, we’re looking spot by spot on the depth chart – starting with the ‘5’ inside receiver where it’s listed as follows…
WR1 Charone Peake (19) – Junior 6-2 205
WR2 Kyrin Priester (17) – Freshman 6-1 185 or Germone Hopper (5) – Sophomore 6-0 180
It’s an intriguing spot in Chad Morris’ offense - certainly taking a background role with Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins terrorizing defenses in the boundary and field spots, but Tajh Boyd has moved the sticks at a pretty good rate here.
It’s no exact science as Morris will rotate receivers around, but listed as ‘5’ receivers for the Orange Bowl, Adam Humphries and Germone Hopper accounted for 27 first downs last season. In the 2012 and 2013 seasons, 83 percent of ‘5’ receiver Jaron Brown’s 52 catches went for first downs.
Last season, the position hauled in as many grabs as the boundary of Martavis Bryant and Mike Williams (18.2 percent) with a distant second-most yards (14.6) behind Sammy Watkins’ ‘2’ spot (33.8).
2014 Forecasts – ‘5’ WR
Brandon Rink – OrangeandWhite.com
Breakout Season (12 games): 45 catches – 675 yards – 7 TDs
Bust: 10 catches – 170 yards – 1 TD
2014 Outlook: 30 catches – 405 yards – 5 TDs
Most everybody expected a bounceback season last year from Sammy Watkins. Meanwhile, Charone Peake, who was rated higher than Watkins by some recruiting outlets, was all set for his breakout season.
Two games in, however the Dorman product’s knee gave way with a torn ACL in practice, pushing his college timetable back a season (two years left). What do we know about the 6-2 talent?
Pre-injury, he was heralded as the fastest on a team with Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. With his most playing time, Peake was targeted 33 times for 24 receptions in the 2012 regular season – 73 percent of the passes completed for 171 yards and two touchdowns. He was used primarily in the quick-pass game with only 7.1 yards per reception.
You figure Morris and co. will use Peake’s speed for quick passes in space, but Peake more like Jaron Brown than Adam Humphries, his yards per reception should jump as Stoudt finds him downfield plenty.
Breakout Season (12 games): 35 catches – 425 yards – 6 TDs
Bust: 4 catches – 30 yards
2014 Outlook: 18 catches – 165 yards – 1 TD
Breakout Season (12 games): 35 catches – 440 yards – 6 TDs
Bust: 3 catches – 25 yards
2014 Outlook: 24 catches – 192 yards – 2 TDs
Redshirt sophomore Germone Hopper has to be on watch with the caliber of receivers Clemson is bringing in this class and classes to come.
A four-star Queen City product out of Berry Academy, Hopper was heralded by the coaching staff in 2012 but couldn’t breakthrough in a stacked lineup. In 2013, he never really got on track, serving a one-game suspension at one point and finishing with 23 catches over 300 snaps, averaging 6.5 yards per reception with two scores.
Prep school signee Kyrin Priester has the makings of an instant impact player – receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott lauding his versatility to play all three spots in Morris’ offense. Priester was used some in the quick-throw game in the spring game and should see the field plenty – possibly competing most head-to-head with Hopper behind Peake. One could breakthrough and leave the other watching more from the sidelines, but I have each with a healthy number of looks.
Marty Coleman – SeldomUsedReserve.com
Breakout Season (12 games): 50 receptions, 600 yards, 6 TDs
Bust: 25 receptions, 250 yards, 1 TD
2014 Outlook: 38 receptions, 395 yards, 2 TDs
Analysis: Timed at 4.4 coming out of high school Peake has never struck me as a speedster (at least not “football speed”) though he did flash glimpses in the Georgia game last year of being able to turn the corner and get up field and I believe he will be a valuable asset this fall.
The question is will Peake be the same post-surgery? Sitting here in early June it’s difficult to tell and the numbers below reflect that uncertainty.
Breakout Season: 35 receptions, 385 yards, 5 TDs
Bust: 15 receptions, 125 yards, 1 TD
2014 Outlook: 22 receptions, 229 yards, 2 TDs
Breakout Season: 30 receptions, 300 yards, 5 TDs
Bust: 5 receptions, 50 yards, 0 TD
2014 Outlook: 10 receptions, 104 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: Part of me says Hopper may never see significant time at Clemson as playmakers with similar ability and seemingly less off field issues sign with the Tigers on what seems like a regular basis. One has to believe that Hopper’s chances are nearing their end.
Yet, another part of me says with 2+ years in the program it’s now or never for Hopper given his off field issues and likely short leash. It’s for those reasons I tend to think Hopper will work his way into the #2 role at some point and see significant time on the field.
As we’lll see over the coming weeks Germone Hopper is not the only Clemson player I believe is in the “now or never” category.
As a freshman Kyrin Priester is at a disadvantage (see Hopper lesson above), simply because I haven’t seen him against D-1 competition, but in a battle with two more experienced players his role will likely be the lesser of the 3, especially if Hopper gets straightened out. That could change quickly if Peake isn’t the same and/or Hopper is unable to harness his potential.
For more on the Clemson WRs, check out SeldomUsedReserve's post here