Ranking Clemson's Wide Outs

From No. 1 to eight, CUTigers.com ranks Clemson's returning scholarship wide receivers in 2008. (Freshmen will be included in a separate story later in the week.)

RANKING CLEMSON'S TOP RECEIVERS
#1. Aaron Kelly (6-5, 195) - REDSHIRT SENIOR

STRENGTHS - height, ability to create separation downfield in man-to-man coverage, hands, catches ball at highest point, knowledge of the offense, catches the ball well in traffic.

WEAKNESSES - run blocking, physical presence at the line of scrimmage.

NOTES - With a strong senior season and a good showing at the NFL Combine next February, Kelly could move into day one of the 2009 NFL Draft. Simply put, he's one of the biggest keys to Clemson's offense this season and many of the ACC's receiving records will be in jeopardy as a result.

HIGHLIGHT: (2007 Touchdown versus Florida State)

BEST CASE 2008 STATS: 80 catches, 1,075 yards, 12 TDs

#2. Jacoby Ford (5-9, 185) - JUNIOR

STRENGTHS - speed, hands, toughness, big play ability.

WEAKNESSES - route running, size.

NOTES - Ford is coming back from a bad ankle injury that prevented him from going through full contact during spring practice. He's expected to be close to 100 percent in time for the start of preseason camp and will be a critical weapon in Clemson's short passing game and on end-around plays this year.

HIGHLIGHT: (2007 Touchdown versus Louisiana-Monroe)

BEST CASE 2008 STATS: 35 catches, 600 yards, 8 TDs

#3. Tyler Grisham (5-11, 180) - SENIOR

STRENGTHS - experience, hands, route running, toughness, catches the ball well in traffic.

WEAKNESSES - big play ability, pure speed.

NOTES - Mainly a possession receiver, Grisham enters his final year at Clemson as one of quarterback Cullen Harper's favorite targets. While he doesn't have the same NFL-ability as Kelly, his toughness and passion for the game is unmatched and he'll likely have another 70-75 passes thrown his way this sason.

HIGHLIGHT: (2007 Touchdown versus Wake Forest)

BEST CASE 2008 STATS: 65 catches, 750 yards, 7 TDs

#4. C.J. Spiller (5-11, 195) - JUNIOR

STRENGTHS - speed, cutback ability, open field running, play-making ability.

WEAKNESSES - taking what the defense gives him, trying to do too much.

NOTES - Technically a running back, Spiller finished third on the team in receptions with 34 in 207 and will be utilized extensively in Rob Spence's short passing game again this year. Blessed with incredible speed, Spiller has the chance to score every time he touches the ball but he must learn to take what the defense gives him to reach his full potential.

HIGHLIGHT: (2007 Touchdown versus N.C. State)

BEST CASE 2008 STATS: 45 catches, 400 yards, 5 TDs

#5. Xavier Dye (6-5, 205) - SOPHOMORE

STRENGTHS - height, hands, catches the ball well in traffic.

WEAKNESSES - game day experience.

NOTES - Similar to Aaron Kelly but more physical and with a thicker frame, Dye should be the next in a long line of tall wide receivers to play at Clemson. The question is, will Kelly's experience keep him on the bench most of the season or will he be utilized a good bit with Kelly in the game?

HIGHLIGHT: (2007 First Down versus Duke)

BEST CASE 2008 STATS: 25 catches, 300 yards, 4 TDs

#6. Terrance Ashe (6-2, 190) - REDSHIRT SOPHOMORE

STRENGTHS - route running, hands, dependable.

WEAKNESSES - speed, play-making ability.

NOTES - Ashe, a former walk-on, is highly thought of by the coaching staff and looked crisp at times during spring practice. While not the fastest player on the team, he's likely in store a decent number of snaps this fall with the outcome of the game still in doubt.

BEST CASE 2008 STATS: 20 catches, 200 yards, 2 TDs

#7. Brandon Clear (6-5, 205) - REDSHIRT FRESHMAN

STRENGTHS - height, physical presence, play-making skills, open field running.

WEAKNESSES- knowledge of the offense, game day experience.

NOTES - Blessed with outstanding athleticism and physical skills, Clear has yet to come close to achieving his full potential. He must demonstrate a better understanding of the offense to see consistent playing time. Once he does that, look out.

BEST CASE 2008 STATS: 25 catches, 300 yards, 2 TDs

#8. Nelson Faerber (5-11,180) - REDSHIRT SENIOR

STRENGTHS - experience, hands, route running, more physical than you'd expect.

WEAKNESSES - speed, open field running.

NOTES - Faerber is a jack of all trades- just look at what he did against South Carolina last year (blocked punt, touchdown reception).

BEST CASE 2008 STATS: 15 catches, 125 yards, 2 TDs


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