Camp Insider: Swinney welcomes priority wide receiver target to camp

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EJ Williams gets special attention from head coach Dabo Swinney
EJ Williams gets special attention from head coach Dabo Swinney

CLEMSON – Wednesday morning’s camp session was cooler than usual, but things began to heat up when a 4-star receiver walked through the door.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney stood in the back of one of the end zones inside the indoor practice facility Wednesday morning watching 5-star quarterback commit DJ Uiagalelei throw. Swinney was focused on Uiagalelei until he was touched on the arm by rising sophomore Justyn Ross, who smiled and pointed to former high school teammate EJ Williams.

Williams (6-3, 188) is ranked No. 126 nationally by Rivals.com and 105th nationally by 246. Williams announced a top seven two weeks ago, a list comprised of Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

He is slated to announce a decision Aug. 24, the date of his late father’s death. Williams visited LSU last weekend with his mother but wanted to check out Clemson – and Uiagalelei – Wednesday.

Swinney immediately smiled and gave Williams a hug before the duo settled in to watch Uiagalelei throw. I still believe Clemson is in great shape here.

*Working out with Uiagalelei was priority target and 4-star wide receiver Xzavier Henderson. Henderson watched yesterday’s proceedings but worked out with Jeff Scott’s group Wednesday. I know it gets to sound repetitive, but he’s exactly what Clemson looks for in its receivers. Tall, fast, good hands.

At one point, it looked like Henderson broke off a route too soon and the pass went behind him. Swinney jumped in and called Henderson to the side for a few pointers. For the record, Henderson was wearing Clemson gloves.

DJ Uiagalelei throws during the morning session

*Tony Elliott had a buzz with his group at running back. Matthews (NC) Weddington 2021 running back Will Shipley was one of the standouts. Shipley possesses great change of direction and showed soft hands during drills. He has several big-time offers, including Oregon, Notre Dame, Georgia, Wisconsin, and South Carolina.

Evan Pryor, a 2021 back out of Cornelius (NC) Hough also ran through drills and received extra attention from Elliott. His offer sheet also spans the country – from Alabama to Penn St. to Ohio St. to Oregon to Wisconsin to Texas A&M.

Pryor is one of those running backs you see and it takes about five seconds to realize is the real deal.

It will be interesting to see how many offers come out of these last few days of camp.

*More on Uiagalelei – several high school coaches who brought prospects to the camp made their way over to watch him throw. I was asked twice by coaches how to find him, and my answer was, “find Brandon Streeter and look for the guy who looks like he can play in the NFL tomorrow.”

Uiagalelei was on point during the morning session. While Swinney was watching, he threw a skinny post to one receiver that the kid simply wasn’t ready for, and the receiver smiled sheepishly as he walked back to the end of the line. My guess is his high school quarterback doesn’t have that kind of arm. A few throws later, Uiagalelei threw a 30-yard crossing route that was a laser and hit the receiver in stride, drawing more than a few ooohs and aaahs from those watching.

A lot of people ask me how he compares to Trevor Lawrence, and I tell that is hard to quantify because Lawrence is the best prep quarterback I’ve ever seen. That’s hard to top, but Uiagalelei is right there in the conversation. The arm talent is unmistakable.

*Current Clemson offensive lineman Tremayne Anchrum has a career in coaching if the next level doesn’t work out. I’ve watched him both weeks, and he looks and acts like a seasoned pro. He also doesn’t mind making a prospect do a drill a second time, or a third time, or a fourth time.

*There were three new offensive linemen of note this morning. Ryan Linthicum, the No. 1 center in the 2021 class from Damascus (MD) who is teammates with Bryan Bresee was one of the standouts. During the drill where the linemen stand under a net and move their feet, Linthicum showed he can bend and still move his feet, good traits for a center.

*Mike Reed had one notable newcomer with the defensive backs in Covington (GA) Newton 2021 4-star cornerback Nyland Green. Green has several offers, Louisville, Michigan St. and Kentucky.

*Remember big offensive lineman Kalon Davis? I felt a big paw on my shoulder before the session started this morning and it was Davis, who coaches at Cardinal Newman School in Columbia. Davis brought one of his prospects to camp 2020 offensive lineman James Reedy (6-6, 287).

*We will have plenty more from the afternoon session. Stay tuned!

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