Midterm Report: Wide Receivers
Coming into the season, the wide receivers were a big question mark. The focus was being put on the younger guys, such as Chansi Stuckey, Aaron Kelly, and the two true freshmen Rendrick Taylor. The forgotten man was senior Curtis Baham.
The main reason Baham was overlooked that is how it has always been. #18 has been a steady set of hands the last three seasons, while being overshadowed by more talented and bigger names. Through the first half of the season, Baham has emerged as the go-to-guy amongst the receivers.
His 51-yard touchdown catch against Maryland brought the Tigers back from the dead. He has been a steady performer each week. He had one drop against Wake Forest that proved costly, but Baham is quietly putting together an All-ACC campaign. Baham is fifth in receiving yards per game and tied for second in touchdowns amongst ACC receivers.
Chansi Stuckey had the highest expectations coming in. Stuckey started off with a bang. He returned a punt for a touchdown and showed great elusiveness against Texas A&M. Stuckey is second in the ACC with a 9.9 yard average on punt returns. He is seventh in receptions per game (4.2).
Head coach Tommy Bowden put the pressure on redshirt freshman Aaron Kelly. Kelly played so well in camp, he began to draw comparisons to former Tiger Rod Gardner. Kelly has not had the breakout game, but he has made some big catches. He has good open field agility, and he is one of the better blockers among the receivers.
Kelvin Grant was becoming the fourth receiver of this group. He played well against Wake Forest and appeared to be gaining momentum. Unfortunately, a torn ACL will sideline Grant the rest of the season.
It is now up to Rendrick Taylor, Tyler Grisham, and La’Donte Harris to take the pressure off of the top three. Taylor is still working his way back from a fractured wrist. Grisham and Harris have been dependable to this point, but they will need to up their level of play until Taylor returns.
This group has shown promise in the first half, but there is still room for improvement. They have shown inconsistencies that were expected. Although Baham is the go-to-guy, Clemson still is missing the receiver that strikes fear in opposing defenses.