Breaking down the wide receivers

With the start of preseason camp just around the corner, we take a look at each position and how things could pan out this fall.

The starters

Just imagine how good this unit could be if DeAndre Hopkins opted to return for his senior season. Regardless, it's still going to be a very solid group, one of the best in the country, if not the best.

Sammy Watkins is back. After playing the 2-position during his first two seasons, he'll slide over to the 9-position, which Hopkins played.

Moving into the starting 2 job is Adam Humphries, who worked as Watkins' primary backup in each of the previous two seasons.

The departure of Jaron Brown left a vacancy at the 5-position and Charone Peake is expected to take over that spot.

Also in the mix

Redshirt freshman Germone Hopper exited spring practice as the No. 2 at the 2-position. Now a junior, Martavis Bryant is listed behind Watkins at the 9. Invited walk-on Matt Porter is backing up Peake.


Charone Peake caught 25 passes as a sophomore in 2012.
Clemson signed three wide receivers in the 2013 haul -- T.J. Green, Kyrin Priester and Mike Williams. Green is projected as a 5-position player and Williams is a 9. Priester could be a fit at any of the three wide receiver positions.

How it might play out

After having a down sophomore season [based on the precedent he set in 2011], Watkins could be poised for a monster third year. It's probably safe to project that he'll catch close to 80 passes and eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark, like he did as a freshman.

After seeing a dramatic increase in playing time between his freshmen and sophomore seasons, Peake's numbers got better. That should be the case again this fall. Look for Peake to have another spike in production in 2013 now that he's a starter.

While Humphries may not provide the same explosiveness that Watkins added to the 2-position, he's one of the most reliable pass catchers on the team. And he'll make it difficult for Hopper to take over the starting job.

After putting together a very good spring, Bryant is expected to be more than an occasional deep threat this fall. He's caught 19 passes for 526 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons. It's very possible that those career numbers could double in 2013.

The Clemson staff already has Williams and Green on campus. They're still waiting for the NCAA Clearinghouse to give Priester the OK. If the staff feels OK with using a six-man rotation at wide receiver, look for all of the freshmen to redshirt this fall. However, the need for more bodies could potentially force at least one of the three into action.

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