Young wideouts ready to emerge

CLEMSON - Brandon Ford first thought red-shirting would be a tough pill to swallow. As it turns out, it turned out to be a great experience.

"It helped with my game planning," he said. "It helped me learn everything because all I had to do was study. I took advantage of that so I can sit back and relax a little bit now."

Watching how senior wide receivers Aaron Kelly, Tyler Grisham and Nelson Faerber put in their work really rubbed off on Ford, who spent a lot of time with the seniors hoping to learn the nuances of being a collegiate wide receiver.

Whether it was watching their film or going to spend time with them at home, Ford made sure he did all he could to learn from the seniors.

Also coming off a red-shirt season in 2009, Jaron Brown has enjoyed getting back out onto the field to compete for playing time where, "Anybody can emerge as a starter."

"My red-shirt season definitely benefited me. I got stronger, faster and was able to learn the playbook," he said. "We had those guys that graduated. Now it's time for the younger players to step up."

Both have displayed a work ethic that has been turning coaches' heads and could pay dividends this fall. It was apparent very early last season, according to wide receiver coach Jeff Scott, who got to know Brown and Ford's mentalities well though work on scout team work.

"One thing that was obvious in the fall last year was that they took advantage of their red-shirt year," he said. "I got to see that first hand. Those guys work. They've got a great work ethic. They're competitors. They want to be good."

Out of Hanahan HS, Ford was the No. 64 rated wide receiver prospect, Brown was No. 56 out of Cheraw. Both were rated with three stars by Similar in size at around 200 pounds, Brown is 6-2 and Ford, 6-3. They bring a big, physical, athletic element to the field that yielded a year of development with three seniors at the position.

Jaron Brown (pictured above) first started turning heads on the scout team last fall while Brandon Ford emerged this spring during several scrimmages.
It's not that the size and skills were put on pause. They were honed.

"Those moments were good for them as far as learning the offense. If you get too much in your head, it will make you play slower," Scott said. "That's the thing we're seeing now, that athleticism we saw in the recruiting process as they are able to process what's going on.

"But that's the biggest thing for every freshman. You're kind of learning the concepts of what you're doing."

Ford likes his ability to be used as a deep ball threat and as a possible target in the red zone. But he also takes pride in the small things wide receivers do to make an impact, which includes blocking.

"Even if I'm blocking for a running back, I take pride in that. I try to be as best at that as I can," he said.

Brown, who sees time at all three wide receiver positions, is hailed as a very versatile receiver by Scott.

"Jaron is a guy that fits several of those areas," Scott said. "He has the potential to play several different positions."

Despite competing for playing time, Brown and Ford said they enjoy the competition. That's exactly what Scott likes to see.

"They're bringing the right attitude everyday…it's exciting to watch these guys come out and develop everyday," he said.

Even their leader at wide receiver, Jacoby Ford, is taking notice.

"I'm really proud of those guys. They've come a long way," he said. "They've just kept working and working, never quit. I'm really glad they're starting to come along. There's no drop off with them. That's the kind of depth we want." Top Stories