Wide Receiver U didn’t quite live up to the hype in 2021.
Drops and injuries played a huge part in causing such a major setback last season. Even getting superstar Justyn Ross back could not help as injuries had a devastating effect.
Ross, who came back from a career threatening neck injury to lead the team with 514 receiving yards (lowest by a leading receiver since 1996), is moving on to take his shot at the NFL while Ajou Ajou and Frank Ladson have transferred out.
However, the wide receiver room is still in good hands with the likes of Joseph Ngata, EJ Williams, Beaux Collins, Dacari Collins, and Will Taylor, along with the return of Brannon Spector and Troy Stellato.
Most of the attention this spring will be on who is going to step up and become the leader for this talented group. Will it be the senior Ngata, who moves into the spring hoping to show that he can play an entire season without getting hurt, as injuries have plagued him to this point.
Another could be Williams, who also had his own injury issues throughout 2021. In fact, he dealt with multiple injuries and heading into his third season, 2022 will be a big year for Williams.
Keeping in mind that there will be a lot of playing time up for grabs. Ngata and Williams are certainly the veterans, but there will be plenty of chances for the younger receivers as well.
The slot is one area that will be closely monitored throughout the spring. The Tigers really missed a smaller, twitch guy with speed at that spot in 2021 and the hope is that Spector is back and ready to go. Stelatto should also get a look now that he has a season under his belt.
Taylor is the wildcard. After starting last season at quarterback, he will now be a full-time receiver and the staff is really high on the rising sophomore. However, coming off a torn ACL, it is very likely he isn’t fully back until fall camp.
Rising sophomores B. Collins and D. Collins both had really good starts to their Clemson careers last season. While B. Collins had the better overall season statistically, both showed they are capable of being major contributors this season.
It will also be interesting to see what the plan for freshman Adam Randall is. Being an early enrollee gives him a leg up, and he will have opportunities at some point. Antonio Williams and Cole Turner, the two other freshmen wideouts, won’t arrive until the summer.
Outside of Ngata, assuming he is healthy, there are no guaranteed returning starters. This means that everyone will be competing hard going into spring and that should make everyone better.
Which one of these talented guys will step up in 2022 along with what the depth chart will look like remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, this group has too much talent across the board to expect a repeat of what was seen out of them last season.
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