|by David Hood|
Scott was faced with the prospect of replacing both Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant, two of Clemson’s leading receivers who opted out of their senior season in order to declare for the NFL Draft. Scott replaced Watkins and Bryant with four playmakers, a process that he says started long before he knew that Watkins and Bryant were leaving.
“We knew. I said earlier today that if we waited until after the Orange Bowl in the locker room to figure out how to replace Sammy and Martavis Bryant, we’d be in trouble,” Scott said Wednesday.” I knew after Sammy’s first practice that he wasn’t going to be around here very long.”
The Tigers signed Demarre Kitt, Artavis Scott, Kyrin Priester and Trevion Thompson in the 2014 class, and Scott said that players like Watkins and former first round pick DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins helped pave the way for the haul.
“You spend time with those guys and show them how they can come in behind those guys and have opportunities to break their records,” Scott said. “This year was big for us from a recruiting perspective. We’ve had three wide receivers since I’ve been here leave after three years (Watkins, Bryant and DeAndre Hopkins) and likely be highly drafted guys.
“There are positives in that, in that they’ve had a lot of success here, a future at the next level. The negative is that you get them for three seasons. We have to continue to stay ahead of that curve and give coach (Dabo) Swinney and coach Morris all the weapons they need for success. It’s going to be a lot of fun with those three guys this spring. I hope I’m up here talking in three or four years from now about how we’re going to replace the guys we’re signing right now.”
Scott gives his brief take on each of the four wide receivers:
“Very athletic and a guy that we think can help us in the boundary position, the same position that DeAndre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant and Mike Williams have played. He’s a guy that we think can stretch the field. He’s got good ball skills. We’re excited about him.”
“He made a pit stop there at Fork Union. He’s a little bit older. Physically, you can tell that. He’s a little bit more physically matured than your average freshman coming in, and we’re looking for big things out
of him. He can play several different positions.”
“Demarre Kitt is someone we’re very excited about. He comes from a great program, Sandy Creek High School in Georgia, the home of Calvin Johnson. The head coach there does an excellent job, Chip Walker, has been very successful, so he’s been coached extremely well. He’s a great route runner, understands the game, just kind of has that it factor, someone we recruited very hard from the very beginning.”
“I’m very excited about him. He’s one that we didn’t have a lot of great ties to initially in the process. You go down to Florida and try to take what we consider the top receiver in the state of Florida out of Florida, sometimes you have to have those ties. We had that with Sammy. My dad’s relationship with one of the coaches there at South Fort Myers really helped us get in a good spot early on, in Sammy’s ninth grade year. With Artavis, we didn’t have that. But he came to Clemson in the summer, spent three days in Clemson. Then, all of a sudden we went from around four or five on his list with the instate schools ahead of us, to number one. Two weeks later, he committed. I think that speaks a lot to what we say. Just get them here and get them around coach Swinney, get them around our players. There are a group of guys that are attracted to that. I think Artavis is very talented.”
David Hood can be reached at email@example.com