1. IT'S TIME FOR AN UPPERCLASSMAN TO STEP UP
Xavier Dye and Terrance Ashe are the top two returning wide receivers from 2009. As redshirt juniors, they caught 14 and 11 passes, respectively. Before last season each had just 10 career receptions. They were both listed as starters on the post-spring depth chart.
Junior Marquan Jones jumped out of the gates early last season, grabbing most of his nine catches before the halfway point on the schedule. Redshirt sophomores Jaron Brown and Brandon Ford combined with redshirt junior Brandon Clear to make seven catches a season ago.
Several key receivers have exhausted eligibility in the last two seasons: Aaron Kelly, Tyler Grisham and Jacoby Ford. Grisham made one catch for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season and Jacoby Ford was a fourth-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the spring.
The group doesn't necessarily need and an all-around threat like Kelly was. Nor does anyone have to acquire the game-breaking speed that Ford possessed. But if a couple are able to consistently make catches and move the chains like Grisham, the passing game could go a long way for quarterback Kyle Parker and provide a nice compliment to the running game.
2. DEANDRE HOPKINS SHOULD BE A FACTOR
Since he was still across town at Daniel High School, freshman DeAndre Hopkins has been touted by CUTigers as a candidate for early playing time this fall. Combined with the open race for playing time at wide receiver, Hopkins is such a gifted athlete who'd push for playing time if he was lining up in the secondary.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney backed the thought in July when he said wide receiver is one of a few positions that could have freshman playing this year. Wide receivers coach Jeff Scott concurred. He wouldn't rule out playing time for freshman Joe Craig.
3. THE JURY'S STILL OUT ON MCNEAL
Redshirt freshman Bryce McNeal hit the Clemson campus last summer in need of some more weight. The former four-star recruit spent the majority of his redshirt freshman year packing on the pounds for this season.
McNeal weighed under 170 a year ago at this time. This summer he's up over 180 and has an eye on keeping his weight hovering around there.
Following the close of spring practice, McNeal was listed as the backup to Jones at the ‘A' wide receiver spot. The year has also
4. HELP IS ON THE WAY
Four-star Martavis Bryant is expected to enroll at Clemson in January after spending the fall season in prep school at Hargrave. He would be joining 2011 five-star Charone Peake, who's an early enrollment candidate.
Bryant would likely play ‘X', the same position that Dye, Clear and Ford play. Peake projects as a Z-receiver (Ashe, Brown, Hopkins).
Both prospects have the potential to be game-changers once they arrive on campus.
The Tigers are also in the lead group for 2011 five-star Sammy Watkins.
Position facts: WRs
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