Monday Insider Notebook

CLEMSON – It had been a while since Clemson signed a big-time recruit at wide receiver until the Tigers nabbed Xavier Dye this past last winter. And in just three days of practice, he's already showing why so many major college programs wanted to sign him out high school.

The 6-foot-4 Dye enrolled in January and it has certainly been to his advantage. Due to his spring and summer workouts, wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney no longer considers him a true freshman.

"Xavier is a true freshman, but he's come a long way since the spring," Swinney said. "He's almost like a redshirt freshman. Xavier is going to be a big factor for us, for sure. He's doing a nice job.

"Xavier is going to be a definite factor, no doubt about it. He'll play and play a lot."

The Clemson coaches knew they were getting a special receiver, but they just weren't sure how special he could be until they started watching every day on the practice field.

Now, they have a much better idea of what a true gem they have.

"He's a kid that has unbelievable work ethic," Swinney said. "He's a big body like Kevin Youngblood was, but he's a lot more athletic than Youngblood. He's not quite as athletic as Derrick Hamilton, but he's not far off."

Because of his athleticism and large size, the coaches are able to move him around in various receiving spots.

In three and four receiver sets, Dye backs up Aaron Kelly out wide. In the spread offense, he backs up Jacoby Ford in the slot.

"Here's a 6-foot-4 guy playing in the slot, which makes him a lot like Hamilton," Swinney said. "But he's a big, strong body and physical kid. He doesn't shy away from contact. Xavier's kind of got a combination of Youngblood and Hamilton in him. He's going to be a pretty good player.

"That's kind of a unique situation for a big guy to go in there and play behind Jacoby at slot."

And having a star wide receiver is something the Tigers desperately need. There is quality on the field, but thus far none have shown the ability to have star quality.

Ford is flashy and fast, but his hands are very inconsistent, as is his route running. Kelly disappears at times and Rendrick Taylor has yet to live up to the hype and potential. Tyler Grisham has great hands, but isn't elusive.

"We need someone to jump out and be a (C.J.) Spiller or (James) Davis at that position," Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden said. "That's what we don't have, a Gaines Adams or Rod Gardner type guy."

Well, if early practices are any indication, Clemson may have found that person in Dye.

WHO'S HOT: Freshman wide receiver Brandon Clear, who was tossed into action Monday night and performed very well. In fact, he did so good that Bowden brought up the young man's name without being asked.

"He's really kind of jumped out a little bit," he said.

WHO'S NOT: The weather. Well, actually, it's too hot, which is why it's a problem. It's not just the temperature, which has been in the mid to high 90s the last few days and will continue to be so, but it's the humidity as well.

High humidity and temperatures aren't a good combination for three-hour practices. Some of the players say that the weather is already wearing them down.

QUICK HITS: Bowden said he's real happy with Scotty Cooper, who has shown explosiveness and the ability to "disengage" defenders. … Wednesday will be the first day of full pads. … Tailback Sadat Chambers continues to impress coaches. But they are waiting to reserve full judgment until he has full pads on and takes real hits in the middle of the line of scrimmage. … Bowden said all the upperclassmen have done well thinks the true leaders will emerge following the first eight days of practice. … Jarvis Jenkins and Marcus Gilchrist also "jumped off the radar a little bit," Bowden said. Top Stories