Coach sees Clemson WR in same light as DeAndre Hopkins

The next dynamic wide receiver to come from Clemson could be NFL-bound as early as 2017, and Tigers receivers coach Jeff Scott believes comparisons to forerunners like DeAndre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant and Sammy Watkins are warranted for fourth-year junior Mike Williams.

"I think he has potential to be as good as any guy that we've had here. He definitely has potential to be in that conversation," Scott told The Post and Courier. "He's made some plays in practice that remind us of some of those guys whenever they were here. There's no doubt we see him in that same light."

While Williams (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) is wondrously talented, he'll be making up for some lost time this fall. A season-ending neck injury in Clemson's first game last year put his career in temporary doubt, but he returned for spring practice and has reportedly looked outstanding thus far in fall camp. Williams caught 57 passes for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns for Clemson in 2014.

He could be available in the 2017 NFL Draft, though he has the option of a fifth season of NCAA eligibility next year. Scott said had Williams been healthy last year, entering the 2016 draft as an underclassman would have been "an easy decision." NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein ranked Williams the No. 3 receiver to watch in the nation this year. One of Zierlein's top 10 defensive backs, Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley, had this to say about covering Williams in practice: "(It's) the hardest thing ever. You can have the best technique down, get the best jam on him, and he'll still make that catch. None of it matters."

The trio of former Tigers wasted no time making an impact in the NFL, though Bryant's career with the Pittsburgh Steelers has been stagnated by a minimum one-year suspension. Hopkins and Watkins, with five seasons of NFL experience between them, are each averaging more than 1,000 receiving yards per year.

If NFL scouts view Williams with similar potential as Scott does, he'll be very highly regarded whenever he chooses to pursue the NFL.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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