CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Top 30 for 2023: Clemson receiver Beaux Collins looking for resurgence coming off injury
Beaux Collins looks to return to the mix healthy and productive in a new offensive scheme. (Photo: Jamie Rhodes / USATODAY)

Top 30 for 2023: Clemson receiver Beaux Collins looking for resurgence coming off injury


by - Senior Writer -

With less than 30 days until the interviews start rolling in, it’s time for us to look at some of the important players and games for the 2023 season. We will start with the players and a look at the Top 30 for the Tigers.

This list looks at a few different factors – the depth chart being the most important part – but also how valuable that player is to the team, how much depth is at that spot, and how much that player will contribute this season.

We discussed this list back and forth and wondered what to do with the receivers. I would assume that out of three starting spots, there will be four players that dominate the snaps in Beaux Collins, Antonio Williams, Cole Turner, and Adam Randall. Based on things we’ve heard, our guess is that Collins and Williams will be locked in as starters while Turner and Randall will rotate at the other spot. Why just three spots? Because tight end Jake Briningstool will be a big-time weapon and take a lot of snaps.

We chip in today with Nos. 27, 26, and 25.

Top 30 Tigers for 2023

30. DE Tomarrion Parker, 29. CB Jeadyn Lukus, 28. OL Mitchell Mayes

NO. 27, WALKER PARKS, RG

Parks is one of those guys I thought a lot about where he should go. There is no denying his importance, experience, and how valuable he is to the team. The man played his heart out against Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, logging 105 snaps against the Vols.

Parks enters 2023 having played 1,984 career snaps over 37 games (26 starts) and is a two-time All-ACC Academic Team selection. Last season, he was a fourth-team All-ACC selection by Phil Steele and started all 13 games in which he appeared, playing 916 offensive snaps, the fifth-most in a season by any Clemson guard all-time.

Parks and left guard Marcus Tate missed the spring after off-season surgery. Both should be ready to go this fall, but they will have to pick up new offensive coordinator Garrett Riley’s system on the fly.

"There are pros and cons to it. Those guys have played a lot of football but still have a lot to work on, so they hate that they're missing,” offensive line coach Thomas Austin said earlier this year of Parks and Tate missing the spring earlier. “It has been good to get other guys a lot of reps and mix and match groups more. I joked with Walker that all I see him is do is lift, eat, and do treatment. He's huge. He's the strongest he's ever been. He's a guy that fights to keep it on. He's been killing it. I think he's like 90 percent running straight on the AlterG (treadmill), so no pain in the ankle, just a matter of stiffness. He'll be full-go in the summer. He's taken some reps on some walk-through stuff."

NO. 26, AIDAN SWANSON, PUNTER

Head coach Dabo Swinney reminds us all the time that special teams are the third part of a complete game, and the Tigers have had their ups and downs the last few seasons. It seems like every week that the Tigers face a punter who is an All-American on somebody’s list – David Shanahan averaged 47 yards per punt for Georgia Tech against the Tigers, Austin McCready averaged 47 yards per punt for Louisiana Tech, Louisville’s Mark Vassett averaged 47.5 yards per punt, and South Carolina’s Kai Kroeger averaged a whopping 53,7 yards per punt, including a 63-yarder, against the Tigers.

You get it, punters can flip the field, help their defense, and sometimes help take over a game.

There is no question about Swanson’s leg or talent, but he needs to be more consistent. He punted 62 times for 2,620 yards (42.3-yard average) over 14 games (all starts) in his first season as a starter, which was good for fifth in the ACC.

There were times when he might have scuffled a little bit early, but I thought he turned his season against Syracuse when he averaged 52.50 yards per punt. After the win over the Orange, he never averaged less than 40 yards per punt.

NO. 25, BEAUX COLLINS, WR

We need to see more Beaux Time in the Valley this fall. Collins burst onto the scene as a freshman, catching 31 passes for 407 yards and three touchdowns. It shows just how much Clemson’s passing game has struggled the last few seasons because he was second on the team in receptions, third in receiving yards and tied for first with those three scores.

He injured his shoulder in fall camp last August, however, and missed a significant portion of time. He returned for the season opener against Georgia Tech and caught 13 of his 22 passes in the first four games. He also caught a touchdown pass in each of those games. Four of his final nine receptions came against Boston College in early October – and his last touchdown – and then the injury bug hit that shoulder yet again.

He didn’t play against Louisville and Miami, returned to catch two passes against South Carolina, and then opted for surgery on that shoulder and missed the rest of the season.

Collins’ work during the spring was limited to position drills and other non-contact practice periods, but receivers coach Tyler Grisham said he loved what he was seeing from Collins.

“He works on his body and that shoulder trying to work around it and get it stronger of course, but he looks great,” Grisham said. “He’s moving well. He’s making plays. It looks like, he would probably say, not quite a full range of motion right now, but it sure looks like it. He’s making great plays out there. A great catch radius. I’m just excited for him.

“This is a big year for him. Really big year. And staying healthy is huge. He knows what he’s trying to achieve. We need him to step up and be the player he wants to be and we know he can be. He’s going to fight. He’s going to work for it. He’s a worker, a grinder, a perfectionist. He wants to be elite, so he’s done well.”

An off-season goal for Collins was adding fat to his lean frame.

“He needs to add fat,” Grisham said. “He was at a (position) meeting, and he had a bag of candy. I’m like, ‘What are you doing, dude? That’s not like you.’ But he’s so trim that we’re trying to add a little fat to him to help him out.”

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