Clemson has had some ridiculous wide receivers since Dabo Swinney took the helm in 2008. DeAndre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant, Mike Williams and Sammy Watkins come to mind — and all four appear to be headed toward stardom in the NFL.
With the 2017 campaign set to kick off — freshman pass-catcher Tee Higgins is catching the eyes of Swinney and the Clemson coaching staff in a major way.
Tommy Bowden says Dabo Swinney and his staff believe Tee Higgins is the best receiver they've had at Clemson. That's a bold statement
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) August 18, 2017
If Bowden is saying it — there's likely some truth. The former Clemson front man is still well-connected with the current coaching staff and wouldn't make a bold comment unless he heard it first hand. Higgins, who is 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds — was ranked as the No. 2 WR of the 2017 class according to 247 Sports. He earned just about every high school honor and is the highest-rated player of the Tigers' freshman class.
For as big as Higgins is — it's remarkable to watch his speed and agility. The freshman runs smooth, crisp routes and last recorded a 4.75 40-yard-dash. He can get up and contest for one-one-one balls, but also lose defenders in space.
Higgins looks like the total package.
Clemson's Tee Higgins made this look way too easy pic.twitter.com/wuMwGiLpxj
— Athletepedia™ (@Athletepedia) August 5, 2017
Listen — I love the bevy of talented wideouts that have emerged from Clemson under Swinney's watch and think they all bring a unique skill set to the table. Hopkins is clearly the most-proven so far, breaking all kinds of records in 2015, a Pro Bowl season where he hauled in 111 receptions for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Watkins is looking for a fresh start with the Rams — and if he can stay healthy — should return to form. Bryant might be the most athletically gifted, but there's been a small sample size because of last year's suspension. Williams was the No. 7 overall pick in April's NFL Draft and is poised for big things.
Higgins has every tool needed to shine in the Clemson offense. Now we wait and see to see if he makes his case to be mentioned in the same sentence with the NFL pass catchers that paved the way before him.