Outside of Sammy Watkins, Clemson has questions at receiver


Clemson lost two key receivers from last season in WR DeAndre Hopkins and TE Brandon Ford; that duo had 26 of the Tigers' 39 TD receptions.

Junior WR Sammy Watkins is back, and he is one of the most talented players in the nation at his position. But who will serve as his complementary receivers?

Actually, Watkins had a tough season in 2012. He was magnificent as a true freshman in 2011 (82 receptions, 1,219 yards, 12 TDs), but he suffered through an arrest-related suspension and nagging injuries to finish with 57 receptions for 708 yards and three TDs last fall.

Clemson signed three wide receivers in February, but one of them -- Kyrin Priester, who signed with the Tigers over, among others, Georgia and Ohio State -- still has not been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse and thus won't be on the field when the Tigers hold their first practice Friday.

Two other freshmen, T.J. Green and Mike Williams, will get opportunities to prove they should be in the rotation. Holdovers fighting for time include juniors Martavis Bryant, Charone Peake and Adam Humphries.

Bryant and Peake were national recruits in 2011, Bryant out of prep school and Peake out of high school. But neither has done all that much, and they risk being bypassed by younger players.

Peake (6-foot-3, 200) has good speed, but he averaged a paltry 6.9 yards per catch on his 25 receptions last season. Consistency has been an issue with Peake going back to his high school days.

Bryant (6-5, 200) has just 19 catches in two seasons, but six have gone for TDs; two of the six, though, have come against FCS opponents. Bryant has all the needed physical tools, but he has been criticized by coaches for not working hard -- on the field or in the classroom (he missed the Chick-fil-A Bowl because of academics) -- and for a lack of consistency.

Humphries strictly is a possession receiver; he had 41 receptions but for just 280 yards last season.

True freshman TE Jordan Leggett could make an impact, but in this offense, QB Tajh Boyd needs two wide receivers to step up and help Watkins.

Don't expect to read any Twitter updates from the players as to how the competition is going: Coach Dabo Swinney has told the players not to tweet during the season, and that includes camp. He has said he doesn't want any distractions.

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