"This is a big loss, Charone was having a great year and was going to have a great year," Dabo Swinney said, when the news was officially announced.
Even through two games, the numbers didn't lie. Among Clemson receivers, Peake was second on the team to Sammy Watkins in catches [eight] and receiving yards .
Leading up to his ACL tear, the junior from Dorman High School was feeling really good about the direction he was headed in 2013.
"Last year, during the summer and fall camp, I improved so much," Peake said, earlier this spring. "I feel like it's still in me. That shouldn't be a problem coming in. I'm getting the medical redshirt and I'll have two years left to improve even more."
Peake enters 2014 as the second most experienced wide receiver in the Clemson corps. Only high school classmate Adam Humphries has more career catches, yards and career snaps.
"He's doing really well now," Humphries said. "He's got his confidence back. For a guy like him, coming out of high school, he was one of the best receivers in the country…he's working really hard."
Peake was limited for most of the spring, but he was able to participate in some on field drills during the final couple of workouts.
Reaching that point, he admitted, wasn't easy.
"It was hard, especially after surgery," Peake said. "I kind of got down on myself a little bit, but once I got started and my knee got a little stronger, I started getting confidence. I've been fine ever since."
But that couldn't stop him from wanting to get back on the field as soon as possible. Those feelings reached their peak in January.
"It hurt me a little bit. I'm not going to lie. It really hurt me at the Orange Bowl standing on the sideline, watching a really good game and not being a part of it," Peake said.
Moving forward, that won't be an issue, just as long as he's healthy.
"I'm doing real well," Peake said. "I'm feeling confident in my knee."
And that is very good news for his play caller, quarterback and fans.
Ready to bounce back
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