Good to great

SENECA, S.C. - Jeff Scott has challenged his talented group of wide receivers to take the next step, to move from good to great.

The good to great motto has been adopted by Scott and the wide receivers as they move closer to the start of the 2012 season.

With the likes of Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant and Charone Peake, the Tigers' could be as deep and talented as any other team in the country.

Throw in Jaron Brown, Adam Humphries and freshman Germone Hopper, and the Clemson wide receivers group is absolutely stocked with talented players.

Earlier this month, Scott met with members of the media at the Dabo Swinney media golf outing to talk about his wide receivers.

Here's what he had to say:

We heard a lot about Hopkins in the spring, how he took the next step. Did anyone else have a really good spring?
Scott: I would say the other guy is Charone Peake. Charone is a guy that, I think, is going to have a chance to have a big year this year. I think Charone is on the normal path for a freshman, as far as the progress. I think Sammy came in and was kind of a different kind of guy. He's one of those rare guys. Charone is a guy who has gotten into the weight room. Because of that, he's gotten stronger, upper body-wise. I really see a different look in his eye, and the confident he has.

"Charone is a guy that, I think, is going to have a chance to have a big year this year. I think Charone is on the normal path for a freshman, as far as the progress."

He's an extremely hard worker. He stayed out on the practice field longer than any player. He was the last one off the practice every practice last year in the fall. Whenever he drops the ball or doesn't do something right, he takes it personal. He's a worker. I think he's a guy that is quietly -- working, working, working -- that I think is going to have a good year this year, and be in that category of playmakers. That's something I'm excited about. We'll see how he does in the fall. He's probably the one guy, coming out of the spring, that we have a lot of confidence. I feel like made a lot of progress.

What's Martavis Bryant have to do to take a step forward this year?
Scott: Martavis is very talented. When they go out and test, he's one or two on the whole wide receiver group. His thing has been consistency and dependability, being where he's supposed to be. All the nuances and details of the position is something, for young guys. That takes a while. I did see that progress from him this past spring. Just because we have five six or guys that are big-time play-makers, all of them have the opportunity to play, because of our trust in them. There were points last year when we did trust him enough for certain situations. He understands that. He knows exactly what he has to do. That's what fall camp is all about. That's what this past spring and this summer. His thing is more dependability than just regular ability, and accountability.

Where do you see Germone Hopper fitting in with all those guys?
Scott: I had all the wide receivers over to my house when I got back from vacation two weeks ago. They just had their workouts earlier that afternoon. We were grilling some burgers on the back porch. Walking around the house after dinner, we were missing Hopper. I didn't know if he had already left. I went back and looked -- he was already on the couch sleeping. I just kind of laughed, thinking, ‘He's the one freshman trying to keep up with all these guys.'

The first thing I would say, just seeing him when he comes around the office, he looks good. He looks like he's putting on weight. That's something we knew, that he was going to need to gain some weight. He's not anywhere near where he is going to be, but I'm seeing progress there. Obviously, very limited now…he'll be a guy that will definitely get a fair opportunity in fall camp.

We tell all the guys that we recruit that we have no problem playing freshmen, if you're ready and you deserve to play. A lot of that depends on them and a lot of that depends on your situation at the position, because, at the same time, we're not going to waste anybody's eligibility. Going into fall camp last year, everybody felt that a guy like Adam Humphries was going to redshirt. Looking back on it, he was probably the second biggest contributor as a freshman last year, on the offensive side of the ball, behind Sammy.

You really never know this early. Just the little signs you look for as a coach and kind of listen [for] as you talk to different people, I'm hearing a lot of positive things with him. He's going to be a fun guy to coach. I think, having these guys here, Sammy and Adam are going to help him as he's learning the 2-man position. I'm excited to get out there on the grass with him.


Hopkins has added a significant amount of size and strength since his freshman season.
What kind of leap did Hopkins make after having such a strong spring?
Scott: I think it was huge. For the first time, probably in his entire life, after football season, he's gone and had an offseason to really lift and work in the weight room. He's always played basketball. Once he did that, once he started gaining that strength, he went to the practice field in the spring and saw the benefits of getting a little bit extra strength, and getting a little stronger and bigger, and getting a little bit faster. He really liked it, and he really just took off. His confidence is at an all-time high. He was definitely, by far, the MVP of spring ball. He's a guy that's just a worker. He's got a blue collar work ethic. He's not a high maintenance guy at all. He's a guy that just goes out there and works. He's always done it on the field. He's just never invested a lot of time in the weight room, and a lot of that is because he went from one sport to the next.

I really think his potential is extremely high. I'm, obviously, very excited he'll be on our team this year. He'll be a guy that we count on. Not just physical maturity, but also just the mental part, too -- being a guy who started as a true freshman and kind of went through a tough year with everybody two years ago. Now, to have the season they had last year. He's going into his third year. I think, just the things that you see out of him, leadership-wise, he's kind of taken that next step. I'm really excited to watch him here this year.

How do you go about coaching a guy like Sammy Watkins?
Scott: The first thing is there is an understanding, I call it DNA. When you're recruiting guys, you say, that guy just has the DNA. There are things that just come natural to him. At the same time, there are a lot of things that he can improve on. That's one of the things we've talked a good bit about. Look at a guy like Tiger Woods. How much time does he spend with his golf coach? One of the best golfers in the history of the game, whenever his game is not right, he has to go back and spend time with his coach. That's one reason that Sammy is special, because he understood at a very early point in his college career, when he got here last summer, athleticism alone is not going to let you be successful. A lot of times you have great athletes and they just don't make that transition early on. A lot of the time, they're trying to do it all themselves. They're just used to it at the high school level, they were bigger and fast than everybody. They feel like all that technique is for the guys that aren't as fast… he could definitely just go out there and just be pretty good. If he wants to be great, he's really going to have to continue to buy into the details. That's what he's done since he's been here.

How has he been, mentally, since the incident in May?
Scott: I think he's more focused, probably, than he was at the end of the year…I think he kind of got worn down a little bit [after last season]. After his situation, obviously, he was very embarrassed. He's responded the right way. He feels like his way of answering that, No. 1 is behavior and decisions off the field. He wants to get on the grass and do the things that he does best. I've seen a lot of focus in him, and some leadership out of him. Any great teams that I've been around their best players are some of their best leaders. That's something we're really challenging him on. He's continued to grow in that role.

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