CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney hated to see Dacari Collins leave the program, but he knows he has six other receivers he feels gives the fifth-ranked Tigers a great chance to be successful.
“We got five or six guys at receiver that we feel great about,” said Swinney, as Clemson gets set to visit No. 21 Wake Forest on Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C.
One of those guys is freshman Antonio Williams, who has already showed off a propensity for making big plays.
“Antonio has made a couple of big plays just off of scrambles. He is a very alert kid and a very instinctive guy,” Swinney said.
Williams caught two passes for 57 yards last week, including an over-the-shoulder-catch by the pylon with a defender right on top of him. The play covered 19 yards. He also hooked with quarterback DJ Uiagalelei for a 38-yard gain earlier in the evening.
“We are really pleased with Antonio. He has proven he can be a guy that we can count on. The lights are not too bright,” Swinney said.
The coaching staff is hoping it will be the same for fellow freshman Adam Randall.
“We are in a good spot. Obviously, getting Adam back is huge and continuing to get him going. [Joseph] Ngata is making some plays. It has been good to see that, we are doing some good things in all areas.”
Williams and sophomore Beaux Collins lead the Tigers with nine grabs each. Collins leads the way with 158 yards and three scores, while Collins has 133 yards and the one touchdown grab described above.
Two of Collins’ touchdowns came on scramble drills.
Ngata has seven receptions for 105 yards, including a 41-yard diving catch to set up a Will Shipley touchdown in last week’s win over Louisiana Tech.
“That is how you win. It is not always going to be perfect. Players make plays,” Swinney said. “DJ has been so much better.”
And so have Clemson’s receivers.
“So, to go along with Beaux, Spec (Brannon Spector), Ngata and Adam, I think, and E.J. [Williams], we are trying to get him where he needs to be. He struggled in camp as far as injuries and coming back banged up, and we just kind of got him back a little bit, so we have to get him going.
“We got a good little group. A good little group of guys that I think can go and win.”
–photo courtesy of Clemson Athletic Communications