Tee Higgins talks Tennessee, basketball and recruiting
|Saturday, July 16, 2016, 8:01 AM- -|
Clemson wide receiver commit Tee Higgins has had a busy month of July, starting with his commitment to Clemson on Independence Day in a viral Bleacher Report video.
Higgins sat down with Knoxville’s Sports Radio WNML, the flagship station of the Tennessee Volunteers, and discussed a variety of topics with host Vince Ferrara. The following is an edited transcript of that interview, with the permission of WNML.
Are you sticking with Clemson?
“My recruitment is shut down completely. I am sure I am going to Clemson.”
“It’s just that family feel that they give me. Coach Swinney and Coach Scott make me feel like family and that’s what I like about them.”
What makes them great recruiters?
“They have the commits like Amari Rodgers and Hunter Johnson going out and recruiting for them and talking to them and getting close to them.”
When did you connect and form that bond with Amari Rodgers and Hunter Johnson?
“Me and Hunter, we were both once committed to Tennessee. We were the first 2017 commits, and we had that bond then. And with Amari, I played 7-on-7 with him the first time this year, and I got closer to him. We are like brothers now.”
Where did the Bleacher Report video come from?
“I reached out to them, and I told them I wanted to do to a Bleacher Report video. They asked if I wanted to set up something, and I said yeah let’s do it. They asked about the Fourth of July, and I said, ‘Oh yeah, let’s do a big Fourth of July commitment.’ And that’s what we did.”
How soon before that did you know you were going to commit to Clemson?
“I knew at least a week in advance, and I let the Bleacher Report people know.”
Where were you when you knew Clemson was the place you wanted to be?
“My mom and I had visited a few weeks before my decision, and we were talking about how my top two were Tennessee and Clemson. We talked about it and talked about it and talked about it. Finally, we came to a decision, and I picked Clemson.”
What is Dabo like behind closed doors?
“He’s wild. He loves to play around, and he always talks about he wants to take me on in basketball when I get there. All of the coaches say he is good and can shoot, so we’ll see.”
Is basketball something you want to do on the college level?
“No, I want to play strictly football.”
How difficult will it be during the winter, when you’re just in the weight room and not playing?
“It will be different because it will be my first time.”
What can you say about Tennessee and your recruitment and what Tennessee has going on?
“Tennessee is actually on the come-up, and they will be pretty good in the next few years. It was pretty hard just knowing that my hometown team will be good and the way they recruit they are really good at what they do. They make you feel like you are at home, too, but there was just something about Clemson that actually made me feel at home.”
Is it tough giving up basketball?
“Yeah, it’s tough, because that was actually my first love.”
Where have you gotten better as a player?
“I’ve gotten better in my route running and blocking.”
Your coach said it doesn’t matter if you’re double-covered, he tells his quarterbacks to throw you the ball because you’re gonna catch it. Do you believe that yourself?
“I kind of don’t have a choice, because the coach will run me at the next practice. I don’t have a choice but to catch it.”
Who do you model your game after?
“A.J. Green. He’s tall and lanky just like me. That is who I model my game after.”
What is Clemson telling you about your upside as a college football player?
“They tell me that I can be one of the best, but I just have to work at it. They see me as a 9-man receiver, which is where Nuk Hopkins played. So I’ve been looking at that.”
Did you look at going somewhere where you could play both football and basketball, or was that an option for you?
“It was. I thought about it at Tennessee, but I just wanted to play football in the long run.”
Tennessee has used Wide Receiver U, but Clemson is the school that most recently has played a lot of receivers in the NFL. Do they talk a lot about WRU at Clemson?
“Yeah, just a little bit. Personally, I think Clemson is WRU at the moment.”
Who is better, you or Amari?
“Me. Amari is quick and stronger than me, and can actually jump pretty high. But I think I have him on the jumping part, and with my ball skills.”
How good is Hunter Johnson going to be?
“He’s pretty good. He can spin it. A great quarterback like him will be great for Amari and me.”