Next in line at the 9

CLEMSON - It would appear that Mike Williams is poised to make a case as the next big-time, play-making wide receiver from Clemson.

With the departures of Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant to the NFL, Williams will be among those asked to carry the torch in the Tigers' receiving corps.

"Sammy and Tay leave, so I'm trying to take that role to be the guy to go to," Williams said. "I feel like I'm that type of player to be the go-to guy and I'm taking on the leadership role to do that."

As a freshman, Williams caught 20 passes for 316 yards with three touchdowns.

Along with the veterans -- Charone Peake, Adam Humphries and Germone Hopper -- Williams and a cast of freshmen -- Demarre Kitt, Kyrin Priester, Artavis Scott and Trevion Thompson -- will try to make up for the 140 or so passes that Watkins and Bryant combined to catch in 2013.

"I really don't have personal stats, but as a group, I think we can do what Sammy and Tay did as a group," Williams said.

For him to do that, it starts with a couple basic fundamentals.

"I'm just trying to get better on my route running, working on my releases and getting out on my routes faster," he said.

Williams works only at the 9-position that's been occupied in the past by Bryant and DeAndre Hopkins, and it's his spot to lose. He just hopes his career goes down a path similar to his predecessors.

"As you can see, Nuk and Tay, they both did three years and left. They both are great athletes. I'm just trying to do the same thing they did, put up the same numbers they put up," Williams said.

After logging over 400 snaps as a freshman, Williams has the confidence that he'll be able to do that as a sophomore.

"I gained a lot of confidence from that," Williams said. "I [also] gained confidence going against Bashaud Breeland in practice last year. Me and Mackensie [Alexander], we're out here getting better, just getting confident."

And that could prove to be lethal for Clemson opponents over the next couple of seasons. Top Stories