Ladson battled an ankle injury in camp last season.
Ladson battled an ankle injury in camp last season.

Trio of young receivers expected to step up in 2020

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – A trio of second-year receivers is expected to take the next step in their progress during the 2020 season, and offensive coordinator Tony Elliott thinks they have the right stuff.

Brannon Spector, Frank Ladson, and Joseph Ngata all had their moments last season, but their production dipped as the year progressed. Ngata had 16 catches during the regular season but caught just one ball in the final three games – and 11-yarder against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Ladson battled an injury during fall camp and never got into a rhythm, catching just eight passes during the regular season and only one pass in the postseason (although it went for 57 yards). Spector redshirted last season but still saw action in three games, catching three passes for 16 yards.

Elliott said Spector can play all over the field.

"Brannon Spector was a guy that flashed last year. We are counting on him," Elliott said. "He's so versatile. He's not a true slot body. He's big enough to go play outside. He has the strength and quickness to play all three positions."

Head coach Dabo Swinney is also a fan of Spector.

"Spector, I think he's got a chance to be just a super player," Swinney said. "I think he's going to have an unbelievable career. He's got four years to go and I think he can be one of those guys that can really do some great things."

Ladson has been compared to another standout Tiger receiver.

"In our building, Frank has drawn comparisons to Martavis Bryant because he's so big and so fast. He's got that Sammy-type of explosiveness,” Elliott said. “Maybe not quite like Sammy, but he's got some really good explosiveness and jets," Elliott said. "I think what happened to Frank last year is like any typical freshman, you get down toward the end of the season and that monkey jumps on your back and you're like, 'Oh let me just get to next season.'

“But now he understands what it's going take this offseason. What I notice now are the little things, like the way he walks around the building. He's got his head up and his chest out, and he'll engage more. He was really, really quiet because he was still trying to figure things out. Now we got a little thing with me, him and Joe back-and-forth, and I can just tell his confidence is building. And we're going to need that."

Swinney said Ladson’s injury set him back.

"He literally got back game week and that really set him back," Swinney said. "Took him a little while to kind of get better. He had some moments and learned. Had some great days in practice and things like that. He looks like a different guy. I love what I've seen out of him."

Ngata flashed during the spring.

“I think he is progressing ing just as we hoped," Elliott said. "Biggest thing now is they're really moving those guys around. Grisham is really challenging them to cross-train. But as we get closer to the season, we'll start narrowing those guys into where they'll start. He had a couple of big plays out here [in practice] so really pleased."

Swinney said Ngata just needed to have the mental side of his game catch up to the physical side.

"Then Joe was just ...," Swinney said. "He made big plays all year and physically he's pretty special. Now mentally, he's really caught up and technically, fundamentally, he's made a huge step. So pleased with him."

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