Player Profile: Derrick Hamilton

Anytime you take a loss that leaves a bad taste in your mouth like this past Saturday did for the Tiger Nation, you are often left searching for positives to help make that "L" sit a little easier. One positive that can be taken from this past Saturday's game was the arrival of Derrick Hamilton onto the scene.

When Derrick Hamilton arrived in Clemson as a highly touted Freshman, many fans were disappointed when he did not take the world by storm, and comments like "If Derrick Hamilton ever comes around" were frequent on the message boards. I think it is safe to say to all those doubters that he has indeed "come around."

The 6'4 195 lb native of Dillon South Carolina didn't pop onto anyone's recruiting radar screens until December of 1999, but when he did, it was more of an explosion. By January he had offers from Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and a host of others. His December pledge to the Tigers was strong despite late pushes from Lou Holtz, and Phillip Fulmer. His athleticism on the prep level was so phenomenal that he returned 8 kicks for touchdowns, and had 8 more called back. North Carolina even told him he could have a spot on the basketball team, a la Ronald Curry and Julius Peppers.

When he arrived to campus, many Tiger faithful were hoping for big things right out of the box for this phenom, but a nagging hamstring kept him out of a lot of fall practice time and lead to a red shirt.

Derrick Hamilton provides a unique blend of size and athleticism rarely found in a Wide Receiver who lines up in the slot the majority of the time. At 6'4 195 he has a frame and long arms to give his QB a nice target to throw at, but the thing that makes him special is when the ball is in his hands. He has moves that can only be described as freaky. This past Saturday, he put a stutter step on a Cavalier defender while running full speed. Instead of making the tackle, the Cav got an armful of air. Hamilton has shown great improvement over the past year. No longer does he let the ball get to his body, he does a great job of catching it in his hands, and looking it in, not running until he has it secure. He also runs very crisp routes, and uses his arsenal of moves to freeze defenders hips and make them look like they are wearing cleats made out of cinder blocks. Yes folks, the sky is the limit for this young wide out.

With the graduation of Rod Gardner to the NFL ranks, the loss of Kevin Youngblood to injury, and a host of other nagging injuries to other young stars like Roscoe Crosby and Airese Currie, it was obvious someone had to step up and make some catches. With a 9 for 90-yard day, Derrick Hamilton looks to be that man, and when the rest of the horses get healthy, look out world!

Questions or comments can be emailed to jbford@clemson.edu

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