football Edit

Receiver U? Ranking Clemson's top WR commitments

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

With the recent commitment of wide receiver Tee Higgins to Clemson, we thought it would be interesting to see how the No. 40 player in the country compares to fellow Tiger receiver pledges in the history of Rivals.com. These are listed in order of Rivals rankings.


1. Sammy Watkins (2011)

The skinny: As Watkins’ process wore on, he became more and more comfortable with the Clemson coaching staff. Two visits to Death Valley during the summer of 2010 further solidified this, which led to his commitment to the Tigers at the end of his senior season over Miami, Florida, Auburn, Michigan and Florida State. After a dynamic collegiate career at Clemson, Watkins was selected with the fourth overall pick in 2014 by Buffalo. Watkins has been productive in his first two seasons in the NFL, but has yet to hit the same level as he did at Clemson.

Farrell’s take: Watkins was a special player out of high school and one of the bigger gets in Clemson history. He was part of an amazing class that helped Clemson turn a corner toward national recruiting success as well as laid the groundwork for their recent national title run. Recruits took notice when C.J. Spiller chose Clemson in 2006, but it was the class of 2011 with guys like Watkins, Tony Steward and Mike Bellamy that really propelled the Tigers to success in the Sunshine State.

2. Deon Cain (2015)

The skinny: Cain committed to Clemson on Memorial Day weekend, but then took an unexpected official visit to Auburn in the days leading up to National Signing Day. Despite the stress that may have caused some Clemson fans, he stayed true to his word and signed with Clemson. Cain enjoyed a productive season in Death Valley as a true freshman, finishing with 34 receptions for 582 yards and five touchdowns, but will be more remembered for being suspended and sent home prior to the Tigers' national semifinal game against Oklahoma. He has been reinstated and should play a big role in Clemson’s offense this fall.

Farrell’s Take: Cain was an elite talent out of high school, a guy who didn’t play wide receiver on a full-time basis but picked it up like a natural. While at first we had questions about his ability to get off the line of scrimmage and be an effective route runner, those were easily answered each time we saw him. He’s a dynamic athlete who will be a major factor for Clemson’s pursuit of a national title this year.

3. Cornell Powell (2016)

The skinny: Powell, who committed to Clemson almost a year prior to his own National Signing Day, came close to taking official visits to a few other schools, but decided to stay firm with the Tigers. He actually scheduled visits to Oklahoma, Ohio State and Georgia, but after chatting with the Clemson staff he reaffirmed his commitment and never made any trips. Powell will obviously have to earn his playing time at receiver this fall as a true freshman, but his easier path to the field will likely be as a kick returner.

Farrell’s take: A recent commitment like Higgins, Powell will be a great complement as a receiver who can play out of the slot or outside. He has sneaky speed and is very strong for his size and his hands are reliable. I expect him to push for early playing time on a stacked roster, and few schools bring their receivers along quicker than Clemson.

4. Tee Higgins (2017)

The skinny: Higgins originally committed to Tennessee before his junior season, but re-opened his process in January after taking a visit to Clemson. As additional offers continued to pile up during the winter and spring, he named a top five of Tennessee, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida State and Ole Miss in early June. Higgins committed to Clemson over Tennessee on July 4, as the draw of playing with several other Tennessee commitments, such as Amari Rodgers and Cordarrian Richardson, was enough to push them over the top.

Farrell’s take: Higgins is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential, which is scary, and rumors out of Death Valley have him as the highest-regarded receiver the staff has worked out since Watkins. He’s tall, long and has that long-strider speed that makes him hard to cover. He high points the ball well, isn’t afraid to work in traffic and is a red zone star in the making. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him shoot up this list if he continues to develop.

5. Artavis Scott (2014)

The skinny: Scott originally had Michigan as his leader, but as the Wolverines filled up with wide receiver commitments during the spring/summer of 2013, Scott began to focus on Clemson, Miami and Central Florida. A three-day camp in Death Valley firmly put the Tigers in control, and he committed to Clemson in early July. In his two seasons at Clemson, Scott has become a consistent receiving threat. He has totaled 169 receptions and 14 touchdowns, which should put him in line for a big 2016 season teaming up with Deshaun Watson.

Farrell’s take: Scott has emerged as a star in the Clemson offense, and that’s no surprise to us. A sneaky strong receiver who can work inside or outside, he was also a standout defender in high school and even played up at the line of scrimmage and got after the passer at times. He had strong hands, was hard to bring down after the catch and was a physical and tough kid at the receiver position. He was also a special teams standout.

Nos. 6 - 10

Farrell’s take: I’m surprised Hopper didn’t impact more because he was such a polished and sudden route runner, but the talent that came in after him certainly hurt his chances. McNeal is also a surprise, but it was pretty much the same situation. Peake and Bryant were both big receivers out of high school and Bryant obviously had the bigger impact as Peake was hurt by some injuries while the jury is still out on Chase. Just missing this list? DeAndre Hopkins, who was No. 148 in 2010. Oops. We obviously fell short on that one.