Been thinking a lot about the success of Clemson football since 2016, and I keep going back to WRs. I think Saban learned this when we thrashed him, and he came back with some of the shiftiest WRs to ever play the game, with one even winning the Heisman.
Of course, defense is king but the QB - WR combo is killer in college football. I think we struck gold with two 5 - stars with Trevor and a miracle Renfrow.
DJ is not the 5-star QB we thought, but neither are the WRs we have recruited lately.
Here is the breakdown of WR recruiting at Clemson over the years for discussion; please let me know if I've made any mistakes. The rankings come from Rivals:
2010: Martavis Bryant - 4 star (drafted NFL) Nuke Hopkins - 4 star - (NFL all-star)
2011: Sammy Watkins - 5 star - (drafted NFL) Charone Peake - 4 star - (drafted NFL)
2012: Germone Hopper - 4 star - (bust)
2013: Kyrin Priester - 3 star - (non-contributer) Mike Williams - 4 star - (drafted NFL)
2014: Trevion Thomson - 4 star - (bust) Artavis Scott - 4 star - (NFL) Demarre Kitt - 4 star - (bust)
2015: Denzel Johnson - 2 star - (non-contributor) Deon Cain - 5 star - (drafted NFL) Shadell Bell - 3 star - (non-contributor)
2016: Diondre Overton - 4 star - (CFL drafted) Cornell Powell - 4 star - (NFL free agent) T.J. Chase - 4 star - (bust)
2017: Tee Higgins - 5 star - (NFL *top pick) Amari Rodgers - 4 star - (drafted NFL)
2018: Justyn Ross - 5 star - (undrafted * injury)
2019: Joe Ngata - 5 star - (bust?) Frank Ladson - 4 star - (transferred) Brannon Spector - 3 star - (TBD)
2020: EJ Williams - 4 star - (hurt/bust?) Ajou Ajou - 3 star - (transferred/bust?)
2021: Will Taylor - 3 star - (hurt) Troy Stellato - 4 star - (hurt) Beaux Collins - 4 star - (solid if not great?) Dacari Collins - 4 star - (solid if not good?)
I'd say Ngata got hurt too much, but isn't a bust. Played solid when he was healthy, hopefully he'll put up good numbers this season. Ladson however, is a bust. Never really stayed healthy and didn't perform that well when healthy either.
Our QB - WR combination was pretty much a total failure last year.
With so many injuries, it is hard to tell where the problem actually is. It’s hard to deny that last season we were absolutely snake bit with injuries. It was pretty much unprecedented in Clemson football history.
If we are as healthy this year as we were un-healthy last year, we just might see marked improvement if not a complete 180 degree turn around.
I agree with much of your post but would you really consider them a bust if they were a 3 or 4 star prospect?
Or we just going off coach speak vs on field results?
Maybe a high 4 star can be considered busts but IMO 5 stars are the true boom or bust players because the expectations are definitely there for them vs a 3 or 4 star.
Personally, I don't think we should be labeling busts until after their Junior year at the minimum.
For example: Cornell Powell really became that top dog as a RS SR that we were expecting earlier so he'd been considered a bust had he not gotten more playing time as a RS SR but he was fun to watch once he caught that groove in 2020.
I see a similar projection for EJ Williams. He was a contributor as a Frosh and was just beat up last year so I don't think he's a bust player as of now. I see the flashes when he's healthy of being a great possession oriented receiver who can make the tough catches and move the chains.
This leads to something I think we all can agree on too -- Idk who's idea it was to load up on tall possession WRs and ignore the shiftier guys but hope that's a lesson learned moving forward.
JRoss should have never had to play in the slot on a regular basis this past year (outside of special packages)
Agree 100%. DJ was disappointing last year but our receiver play has fallen off a cliff. I keep hearing about what great talent we have at wr and I see a lot of unproven potential that may or may not pan out.