After a down season at the postion, Clemson looks to be once again loaded at wide receiver.
Injuries ravaged the group last season. Justyn Ross was out all year, Joseph Ngata missed almost the entire season, and Frank Ladson Jr missed more than half. While Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell filled in admirably, the injury woes had a devastating effect on the depth.
All those guys should be back in 2021, not to mention E.J. Williams, who really started to come on towards the end of last season. There’s also the three elite-level freshmen the Tigers signed as part of the most recent recruiting class.
Then there’s Ajou Ajou. Clemson fans got small glimpses of the receivers athletic ability last season. However, he came in very raw and needed a lot of development.
Fast forward one year later, and it sounds like Ajou still has some growing to do as a player. Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott told the media recently that the next step in the process for the second-year receiver is attention to detail and focusing on the little things.
“If he’s not mentioned, it’s not because he’s not making a play,” Elliott said. “It’s just he consistently is not making the plays that he should make. And once he figures it out and says, ‘You know what? I’m gonna make every aspect of my life as important as football is,’ guess what? Football is going to elevate.”
Elliott said that before Ajou can experience success on the field he has to perfect the art of working on his craft off of the field.
“You don’t want to be on time, you don’t want to do the little things, you don’t want to take care of your body, your football is going to suffer,” Elliott said. “I don’t care how much you love it, how hard you work at it, you are who you are. So whatever you’re struggling with over there, if you don’t attack it, you don’t turn it into a strength, it’s going to show up as a weakness in football.”
The Tigers’ offensive coordinator said that with Ajou, it’s not a matter of if he’ll take that next step, the question is when he will take it.
“We all know, having done this for a while, you’re dealing with college guys and having experience, you know when (Ajou’s) more consistent with the little things, you know off the field, then it’s going to transition to the field,” Elliott said. “For him, it’s not the big things. Man, the guy can run, jump, he can make every catch. He’s physical, he’s gotten even bigger. It’s just the consistency to be able to do that play in and play out and that’s where he has to grow up.”