2011 Position Analysis: Receivers with Jeff Scott

Jeff Scott is the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Clemson. Scott's football bio in a nutshell: Jeff is the son of former Clemson OL coach Brad Scott. Jeff was the holder at Clemson in the early 2000's. His college coaching career began in ‘07 at Presbyterian College as the receivers coach. Scott came back to Clemson as a Graduate Assistant, and was promoted to Wide Receiver's coach when Tom Bowden and Rob Spence got fired mid-way through the ‘08 season. Scott assumed the role of recruiting coordinator from Dabo Swinney following National Signing Day 2009. Here is our analysis of Coach Scott following the 2010 season. We rate Coach J. Scott's coaching performance in three straightforward areas:

  • Recruiting - Scott has the additional title of Recruiting Coordinator and the wide receivers coach is expected to be a very strong recruiter.
  • Passing production (in context with the offense around it).
  • Blocking

As we move through this article, we will show a variety of data. All recruiting data was obtained through www.rivals.com and all statistical/in-game data attained from www.clemsontigers.com. A final note: I included some tight end data in this analysis and realize this. Because of the nature of the position, the TE is typically an eligible receiver on the line and was unsure if their production would be captured elsewhere. I did not, however, incorporate the TE's in the final assessment of Coach Scott as Scott is not the TE position coach.

Off the Field Items

Recruiting/Recruiting Coordinator:

Below is our annual aside regarding the role of the recruiting coordinator and Jeff‘s responsibilities here at Clemson in particular. This, in general, does not mean that the recruiting coordinator does not have extra responsibilities. It does mean that recruiting is a team effort and the recruiting coordinator is a key cog in strategy creation and implementation.

Jeff Scott has the additional title of Recruiting Coordinator, meaning most fans will put the success of the recruiting class on his shoulders when it does well. This is actually not a totally correct assumption, as the coordinator is merely that, a coordinator/director of recruiting. It's an administrative title that doesn't carry the power of an offensive or defensive coordinator. He does not decide directly who we go offer or who goes after them, that decision is one made by the full staff with approval from Swinney (unless he makes a direct offer, like Colton Walls). However, he does have a say in how the recruiting territories are decided/divided up amongst the coaching staff. It is important to remember that each coach has a specific region to recruit. The position coach does not recruit only players to his own position.

Each player offered by the offensive staff is seen by the entire offensive staff and the coordinator and relevant position coach decide who gets an offer. This Clemson staff is far more deliberate in how they go about deciding who gets a Clemson offer.

What does the RC actually do? He is responsible for weeding through some film on players from HS coaches who want their guys looked at. The film goes to him first. He maintains the staff database on prospects and compiles their information, and handles any kind of transcript/academic issues with the AARC. In actual recruiting, he keeps tabs on what each coach is doing on the road, handling flights/travel, itineraries for coaches and official visits, assigns player-hosts, and the like. He deserves credit, but giving it all to him would not be right. Most credit should go to the actual recruiter and the head coach, who must close on a prospect.

Now that we are through that bit of housekeeping, let's examine recruiting. Again Clemson has put together a solid football signing class. The "experts" have this group ranked anywhere from top ten to mid-teens but, as you know, recruiting is all about filling needs, and here is what we thought about this class from this perspective. I don't want to focus on this so much as the individual performance of Scott in his current role. I will, however, note that Clemson did an excellent job wrapping up the core class early, getting players enrolled early, and maintaining these players' commitments until Signing Day. You cannot attribute all of this success to Scott but he certainly deserves credit here.

We mentioned in prior years' articles how Scott has historically recruited well from his time as a graduate assistant (Bryce McNeal) through a deep class last season. Below is a list showing Scott's primary recruits that signed with Clemson.

Name

Position

Hometown

School

Rivals Star Rating

Recruiter

Travis Blanks

DB

Tallahassee, FL

North Florida Christian

4 stars

Jeff Scott

Patrick Destefano

OL

Roebuck, SC

Dorman

3 stars

Jeff Scott

Kevin Dodd

DT

Chatham, VA

Hargrave Military Academy

4 stars

Dan Brooks, Jeff Scott

Javarius Leamon

OL

Woodruff, SC

Woodruff

4 stars

Jeff Scott

Jay Jay McCullough

ATH

Fort Mill, SC

Nation Ford

3 stars

Jeff Scott

This table shows a pretty stout bunch headlined by Banks. Five signees with three of these players garnering four stars entering Tigertown (though I will point out Dodd was a 2011 signee who went to prep school in fall 2011). Jeff's main territory is the Upstate of SC, South Georgia and North Florida. Scott has tendered multiple offers in 2012 throughout the areas surrounding Jacksonville FL and we expect him to pull several from this area.

On-Field Items

2010 was a particularly tough season for the wide receivers. In turn, we were extremely concerned overall that Scott's relative lack of experience would weigh down future production at the position. Further, we believed that Scott needed some time working under an experienced coach who preaches hard work, fundamental preparation, and attention to detail. We didn't think that Swinney and/or Napier stressed these issues and that Jeff needed some influence and guidance as he evolved into a position coach. Such a coach was found in Chad Morris. Morris came in and demanded perfection at the wide receiver spot. Morris went further to say that wide receivers who did not give full effort all the time and **GASP** block properly would sit the bench. Additionally, Clemson severely upgraded its talent at the WR position and freshmen began pushing the veterans for playing time. The result of talent and increased expectations created competition and vast improvement under Scott's watch in 2011.

We see little attrition here moving into next season. Clemson receiver Bryce McNeal chose to leave the Clemson football team when it was apparent he would not be happy with his playing time, Joe Craig was dismissed following another altercation, and Marquan Jones is lost to graduation. Clearly the vast bulk of the production from one year ago will return intact for 2012.

Passing Game Effectiveness

We complained and complained all last season about dropped passes. Not one or two dropped passes but what seemed like every other throw that hit a receiver's hands was dropped. Clemson's receivers did a much better job on the season catching passes. There were a couple of big drops on the season, but overall both new contributors and veterans caught the football. I was particularly impressed with Jaron Brown's overall improvement and particularly his pass catching ability. Last season he couldn't catch a cold naked in Alaska. This year he was nails for the majority of the season.

Clemson was flush with solid pass catchers this season including tight ends who were flexed and used extensively in the passing game. Clemson's talented receiving corps featured stars Deandre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins and was augmented by steady, productive play from Brown and Humphries.

The 2011 statistics are shown below. It should be no surprise that Sammy Watkins absolutely killed it and Nuk was just shy of a 1000 yard season. Dwayne Allen showed out all year and was a critical weapon in this passing attack and will definitely be missed. As mentioned above, Junior Jaron Brown really stepped up as a quality alternative to the "Big Three."

#

Player

Pos

GP/GS

Rec

Yards

Y/Rec

Rec/G

Y/G

TD

20+

LG

2

Sammy Watkins

WR

13-10

82

1219

14.9

6.3

93.8

12

19

65

6

DeAndre Hopkins

WR

14-11

72

978

13.6

5.1

69.9

5

13

50

83

Dwayne Allen

TE

14-14

50

598

12

3.6

42.7

8

7

54

18

Jaron Brown

WR

14-12

31

406

13.1

2.2

29

4

3

29

16

Adam Humphries

WR

14-2

15

130

8.7

1.1

9.3

0

0

18

80

Brandon Ford

TE/WR

14-1

14

166

11.9

1

11.9

2

3

50

1

Martavis Bryant

WR

14-2

9

221

24.6

0.6

15.8

2

5

54

19

Charone Peake

WR

14-0

4

71

17.8

0.3

5.1

0

1

24

9

Joe Craig

WR

7-0

3

18

6

0.4

2.6

0

0

13

11

Bryce McNeal

WR

3-1

1

8

8

0.3

2.7

0

0

8

26

Marquan Jones

WR

13-0

1

6

6

0.1

0.5

0

0

6

86

Sam Cooper

TE

14-0

1

18

18

0.1

1.3

0

0

18

Total

283

3839

13.6

20.2

274.2

33

51

65

Compare those numbers to the ones we saw in 2010 and you see definite improvement.

#

NAME

POS

G-S

Rec

Yards

Y/Rec

Rec/G

Y/G

TD

20+

LG

6

DeAndre Hopkins

WR

12-8

52

637

12.3

4.3

53.1

4

8

45

83

Dwayne Allen

TE

13-13

33

373

11.3

2.5

28.7

1

3

47

18

Jaron Brown

WR

12-10

32

405

12.7

2.7

33.8

3

6

74

26

Marquan Jones

WR

13-3

21

184

8.8

1.6

14.2

0

1

38

7

Bryce McNeal

WR

12-3

19

187

9.8

1.6

15.6

0

4

30

80

Brandon Ford

TE

13-0

10

78

7.8

0.8

6

2

0

16

21

Xavier Dye

WR

11-4

4

51

12.8

0.4

4.6

0

0

18

85

Brandon Clear

WR

12-0

3

106

35.3

0.3

8.8

1

2

70

87

Terrance Ashe

WR

11-0

1

43

43

0.1

3.9

0

1

43

Total

175

2064

11.79

13.46

159

11

25

74

Here is how the two teams compared in the categories above:


2010

2011

Delta

Games

13

14

1

Rec

175

283

108

Yards

2064

3839

1775

Y/Rec

11.8

13.6

1.8

Rec/G

13.5

20.2

6.8

Y/G

158.8

274.2

115.4

TD

11

33

22

20+

25

51

26

LG

74

65

-9

Through one extra game, Clemson had 22 more WR/TE touchdowns, 108 more receptions, 1775 yards, and 26 more 20 yard plus pass plays. This is ridiculous improvement over a year ago and should impress anyone who sees these statistics.

Blocking

This is the area of improvement I was most pleased with for the '11 campaign. While the pass catching numbers were very encouraging, the effort and improved play by our receivers on the perimeter showed an increase in fundamental awareness and showed our receivers working hard on a non-glamorous but extremely important part of our offensive attack.

The improvement was noted not only on sweep-type plays and screens but also downfield. The Clemson receivers were much more aggressive this season compared to past campaigns and, because of this effort, the Tigers were able to turn the edge runs and screens into successful plays and turn short/medium catches into really big plays. Individually, we were impressed with Nuk last season and that is about all. Again Hopkins gave an excellent effort. True freshman (Superman) Sammy Watkins immediately came in and put veterans to shame with his blocking ability. I'll also point out that Jaron Brown got after it and contributed much, much more in this category than a year ago.

2012 Receiver Recruiting Class

Due to the existing depth created through last season's freshman class and the return of the main contributing receivers, Clemson brought in a small number of receiving threats during the 2012 recruiting cycle. In fact, we really only brought in one player who will play the "traditional" wide receiver role, Gerone Hopper. I liberally show Zac Brooks below as he will play an important part in the Tigers' passing attack at some point but will be featured as a running back (4) and likely some in the 3-back position. Brooks played the WR position some in high school and Morris' offense turns an explosive player like him into a legit receiving threat out of the backfield, so we'll lump him with both WR and RBs for now. Hopper has average size (6' 165 lbs) but is extremely quick and explosive which will allow him to turn nice plays into big ones. He is a great fit for this offense and should see action in the 2012 campaign. I'll also note that Jay Jay McCullough is likely to play at tight end over the course of his career, so be cognizant of him as a receiving target in the coming years.

Name

Position

Hometown

School

Rivals Star Rating

Recruiter

Zac Brooks

ATH/RB

Jonesboro, AR

Jonesboro Senior

4 stars

Chad Morris

Germone Hopper

WR

Charlotte, NC

Phillip O Berry Acad Of Tech

4 stars

Danny Pearman

Again, we are loaded at the WR position and can afford to be picky at this spot, particularly through this cycle.

Overall

Clemson was much improved in the receiving portion of the offense over a year ago, which is well noted above. We also note that the freshmen on this squad-particularly Sammy Watkins-would make just about any team better. We also saw a new offensive philosophy and a new offensive sheriff in town. Chad Morris increased the demand for effort, fundamental soundness, and productivity. These demands were obviously reverberated to the players and the position coach. Further, there is no doubt that everyone involved will get better because of this, including the position coaches.

On the flip side, Morris' offense is vastly simpler than the Rube Goldberg approach used in years past. The players were not thinking as much and, in turn, were out there playing and doing things drilled into them through Morris' fast paced-repetitive style. This clearly helps the players focus and decreases complexity of information coaches have to drill into their players, thus increasing the likelihood of success for both the coach and players.

Recruiting has been Scott's staple, and he performed this portion of his position well again. Scott has shown year over year that he can bring in players-especially when you combine him with Dabo. As explained before, the RC probably receives too much credit/blame for the overall class but we do need to give Scott his due here as well.

I must say Scott's rating has improved over a year ago (after the crap we saw out of our receivers in ‘10, we were admittedly ready to make adjustments including, but not limited to, moving Scott to RB coach). We still wouldn't be opposed to swapping Tony Elliott and Scotts' potion responsibilities but do not expect any shakeup. Because of the output improvement we've warmed more to Scott's on field success and hope that he will use Morris or Caldwell as a mentor to elevate his coaching abilities as either of these is better served to mentor compared to other "offensive minds" on staff prior to ‘11. He is still young and, consequently, could still use some guidance to assure his guys keep getting better and don't fall back into the traps seen in previous years.

I'll also say, this was probably the most disciplined group of receivers at Clemson since Coach Stock was here. This puts smiles on faces and less cussing at silly mistakes that cost your team in clutch situations. Because of his relative inexperience, this being his first big successful on-field position coaching season, and results we've seen out of receiver development in the past, we want to see that 2011 success was not pure talent alone and that we can see improvement year over year for receivers. Consequently, we'll continue to watch for our receivers to do the little things correctly all the time and will hold the position coach accountable-particularly if our blocking falls back to the piss poor condition it was in one year ago.

The depth chart here should have no surprises. We expect the lineup to look like the following next August. Bear in mind that the rules on the position numbering are not that strict.

5

9/Boundary

2

Brown

Hopkins

Watkins

Peake

Bryant

Humphries



Hopper

With all the talent, experience, and depth returning at the WR position, we anticipate this position to be a clear strength for the Tigers in 2012. I will be eager to see Martavis Bryant and Charone Peake on the field more this season. I was a little surprised with the relative lack of production out of these highly touted freshmen. Peake likely needed 2011 to adjust to the college game. Bryant is just ridiculously fast and should be used to stretch opposing defenses. We want to see Brown continue to improve. Nuk and Sammy are both studs and we expect great things out of these two again in '12. Humphries was a pleasant surprise and was a contributing member in '11 and we see him in similar roles moving forward (dependable receiver who, without flash or glitz, makes the plays he is supposed to make). He provided a key spark in the Wake game that likely propelled the Tigers to the ACCCG. Hopper is not expected to redshirt, as he is a very talented high school player who is good enough to contribute as a freshman.

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