First up, quarterback and wide receiver:
QB: The Tigers are blessed with a stable of young, talented gun slingers chomping at the bit in anticipation of gridiron action. Hometown favorite Willy Korn leads the way in terms of experience, both with regards to practice and development and actual game experience. However, injury-plagued mechanics have opened the door for the rocket launcher bearing Kyle Parker.
After watching Parker dazzle in the Spring Game (scant hours before launching baseballs into orbit over at Doug Kingsmore), he may be the top dog going into summer practice. To further stir the mix, there is the precocious Tajh Boyd. While constantly amazing the doctors with his rehab progress, Boyd was a constant fixture on the Tiger sidelines attempting to absorb as much of the game as he could. While he is making every effort to see the field this fall, his knee and inexperience may force a redshirt.
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Billy Napier would like to add one quarterback in the 2010 class. (Roy Philpott/CUTigers.com)
Though the depth chart is young, talented, and deep, don't be surprised to see Dabo and company target a handful of prospects. After seeing his top two guys go down with injuries last year, Coach Swinney was nearly faced with the option of pulling the redshirt off of Parker nine games into the season or trotting out a player that had just spent the last two years at safety. Fortunately, this evil choice wasn't forced upon the new coach, but the depth concerns may remain. The staff will be very selective, but will offer a small contingency of prospects.
THE BOTTOM LINE AT QB: I call for the Tigers to attempt to sign one prospect that will provide depth and may be a complimentary piece to the signal callers already on campus.
WR: This unit has lagged behind some of the others in terms of an injection of talent, but it is on the way. There is a bevy of talented, but tremendously inconsistent and inexperienced playmakers here entering the start of preseason camp. Jacoby Ford is the leader, but must make the tough transition from a No. 2 to being the primary target.
No longer having Aaron Kelly commanding double teams, Ford must prove this year he is a complete receiver and a go to guy. Marquan Jones is a silky smooth player that has great upside, but is one of the more inconsistent receivers. If he can maintain a level of focus, look for him to breakout this year in a much expanded role.
Freshman Bryce McNeal should provide help to Clemson's receiving corp this season. (Roy Philpott/CUTigers.com)
Brandon Clear has struggled to grasp the offense, but once the light goes on, he could be a great asset, especially in the red zone. Brandon Ford is likely still a year away, but has good upside if he can improve his quickness. Terrance Ashe is the unsung player of this group. Though far from the most talented guy on the roster, he is a workhorse player who has proven to be dependable in a pinch. Bryce McNeal is the wildcard here and though perhaps not physically ready for the college game in terms of strength, he may prove to be far too gifted to keep off the field come the fall.
THE BOTTOM LINE AT WR: Ideally, the staff wanted to sign three prospects this past February, but netted only one in the four-star prospect McNeal. The Tigers will look to recoup this deficit this cycle. Already on the board with burner Joe Craig, talented go to receiver Martavis Bryant, and athlete extraordinaire DeAndre "Nuke" Hopkins, Clemson continues to work its oversign board.
Hopkins may ultimately end up in the defensive backfield, but it should be noted that the staff had Nuke rated as the best wide receiver prospect in the state outside of Bryant. I think the Tigers may end up signing one more prospect here. I call for the Tigers to sign 3-4 WR prospects this year depending on if you place Hopkins as an athlete or a wide receiver.