Good to Great

by - Senior Writer -
Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, and Nuk Hopkins

SENECA – Clemson wide receivers coach Jeff Scott likes his current crop of receiving talent, a group that he says has the potential to be great.

But they aren’t there yet.

With that in mind, Scott said the wide receivers are wearing bracelets that remind of exactly where they need to be.

"Obviously I'm excited with our group. It's a lot more fun to coach talented players but at the same time I think our guys understand that there's a lot of improvement they can make,” Scott said Tuesday during the media golf outing at Cross Creek Plantation. “There's no such thing as maintaining or staying the same. You're getting better or worse. All of our wide receivers have a bracelet that says good to great. That's kind of maybe one of our mottos we'll talk about at receiver.”

Scott said he believes his group has the potential to reach that “great” level.

“We've got a really good group. But good is kind of the opposite of great,” he said. “I think making that progression from being a good group to being something really special, I think this group has the potential to do that. I think we'll have to have the same type of improvement we had last year. You're not going to surprise anybody now. Maybe last year, especially some of those big early games, a lot of people didn't know a lot about Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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. We'll get everybody's best shot now, but I'm excited about this group. They've been extremely hungry. And they've had a great summer.”

Scott said that he likes the leadership he has seen from his group.

"There's strong leadership in that group,” he said. “Jaron BrownJaron Brown
RS Sr. Wide Receiver
#18 6-2, 200
Cheraw, SC

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is a guy who can get forgotten about until third down when he comes up with a big play. Sammy [Watkins] and DeAndre [Hopkins], those guys are leaders, too. Jaron has been through it and has everyone's respect. He's done a great job leading everyone this off-season."

Former Dorman receiver Charone PeakeCharone Peake
So. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 205
Moore, SC

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came to Clemson with as much or more hype than Watkins, but Scott said he has seen progression from Peake during the off-season.

"Charone Peake is a guy I think will have a chance to put together a big year,” Scott said. “Charone is on the normal path for a freshman. I think maybe Sammy came in as a different kind of guy, one of those rare guys. Charone has gotten in the weight room and has improved his upper body strength. I see a different look in his eyes. He's an extremely hard worker. He was on the practice field longer than anybody last fall. He's a worker. Quietly he is working, working, working and I think he's going to have a really good year this year. He may be in that category of playmakers. He's one guy we have a lot of confidence in."

Other news and notes from Jeff Scott

On Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
So. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 205
Calhoun Falls, SC

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"When we go out and test he's one or two in the whole group. His thing has been consistency and dependability. All the details and nuances of the position, sometimes it takes longer for some guys. There were times last year when we didn't trust him for some situations. His situation is more dependability and accountability. "

On incoming freshman Germone HopperGermone Hopper
Fr. Athlete
# 6-0, 175
Charlotte, NC

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and where he might fit in

"I had all the wideouts over at my house when I got back from vacation. They had just had workouts that afternoon. We were grilling burgers that afternoon. I turned around and we were missing Hopper. I looked and he was on the couch sleeping. He had been trying to keep up with all these guys. But he looks good. He's put on some weight. He's nowhere near where he's going to be. He'll be a guy who will definitely get a fair opportunity in fall camp. We tell all the guys we recruit that we have no problems playing true freshmen if they're ready to play. That depends on them and the position because at the same time we're not going to waste anyone. You just never really know this early. But the little signs you look for, I'm hearing a lot of positives with Germone. He'll be a fun guy to coach. Sammy and Adam will help him as he's learning that two-man position."

On the spring of Nuk Hopkins

"For the first time in his entire life he's had an off-season to lift and work in the weight room. He had always played basketball. Once he started gaining that strength and went to the practice field, he saw the benefits of being stronger and faster and he liked it. He was by far the MVP of spring ball. He's more confident. He's not a high maintenance guy at all. He's always done it on the field. He's just never invested a lot of time off the field. I think his potential is very high. He'll be a guy we'll count on. Physical maturity, yes, but the mental part, too, he's matured. He's going into his third year and the things you see out of him, leadership-wise, he's taking that next step."

On coaching Sammy Watkins

"There's an understanding that he has what I call DNA. He's just got things that come natural to him. At the same time there are a lot of things to improve on. Look at Tiger Woods. He's one of the best in the history of the game, but he spends a lot of time with his coach. One reason Sammy is special is because he understood at a very early point in his college career that athleticism alone is not going to let you be successful. A lot of times you have great athletes and they just don't make that transition early on. It's because they're trying to do it all themselves and they used to be able to in high school. But he had that understanding that he needed technique and fundamentals. Against Virginia Tech, the double move that he had, just him using his eyes to hold that defensive back on the play, that's something that does not come natural that you have to work on, something we've spent hours and hours talking about. If you ever get to a point where you feel you've arrived, that's when you get knocked back down. The way to combat that is to work harder this year than he did last year. He could definitely just go out and be pretty good, but if he wants to be great, he'll have to continue to buy into the details."

On how Sammy has responded

"I think he's more focused than he was towards the end of the year. When we start August, we go 29 practices before we ever play a game. Then you go all the way through December as a heavy contributor as a true freshman. So I think he got kind of worn down a bit. I think he's responded the right way. I think his way of answering that is behavior and decisions off the field, but obviously he wants to get back on the field. The great teams I've been around, their great players were their best leaders. We'll continue to challenge him in that role."

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