Wide Receiver U: Clemson added more star power with 2016 recruiting class


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Swinney says that T.J. Chase has great ball skills
Swinney says that T.J. Chase has great ball skills

CLEMSON – Wide Receiver U.

Clemson’s football program is known for churning out great wide receivers, something that co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jeff Scott uses it to his recruiting advantage. Recent receivers that have used Clemson as a stepping stone into the NFL include Nuk Hopkins, Jaron Brown, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant.

The Tigers return several veterans next season – Artavis Scott, Hunter Renfrow, Deon Cain, Trevion Thompson and Ray-Ray McCloud combined for 220 catches in 2015. Add in Mike Williams – who missed all but a few plays last season – and the Clemson receiving corps would be formidable next season without an influx of talent.

But an influx of talent is on the way as the Tigers signed three wide receivers in the 2016 recruiting class – Cornell Powell, Diondre Overton, and T.J. Chase. According to head coach Dabo Swinney, who used a baseball analogy, the Tigers hit a home run with the trio.

“We hit a home run with all those guys. They really were our top picks,” Swinney said. “We probably offered about eight guys and those three guys were at the top of our board. And it was done pretty early, as well, even though Diondre didn't officially commit until December or the first of January or whatever it was we knew he was coming for quite a while.”

Swinney then broke down each of the receivers, starting with Chase, the 4-star out of Plant City, Fla.

“T.J. is a really good prospect,” Swinney said. “Really smooth route runner with great ball skills. A savvy, instinctive player that plays a lot of defense as well. I think he brings a mentality of that you love to have there.”

Powell was compared to former Green Bay receiver Sterling Sharpe.

“I think Cornell Powell is freaky,” Swinney said. “Physically, he is just a freaky guy. He looks like Sterling Sharpe. He is what Sterling Sharpe looked like with the Packers. He is just unbelievable. His physical development for a young guy - he is a really strong, fast, and explosive.”

Overton drew the most praise from the Clemson head coach.

“And then you throw in Diondre Overton - he's a cross between Mike Williams, Martavis Bryant and Nuk Hopkins. He's a big time basketball player like Mike and Nuk were,” Swinney said. “Great ball skills. Very raw. Unbelievably gifted but so much untapped potential. He's only played a couple of years, but this kid has a chance to be really, really special. He's already 200 pounds and as he transitions into playing football full time and he's in that weight room and just getting the day in and day out part of the position, the sky will be the limit for him.”

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