2012 Position Analysis: Receivers with Jeff Scott

Kevin C. Cox

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.

I'll note that this assessment also includes some references to the tight ends-particularly in the receiving game. The thought behind this inclusion is that the Tigers' offensive attack frequently employs flexed tight ends in many formations. This effectively turns the tight ends into wide receivers. Additionally, Clemson's use of the TE blurs their responsibilities with those of the traditional receiving corps which makes them a bit more difficult to pigeonhole into their own category.

Here is our analysis of Coach Scott following the 2010 season and after last season. We rate 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

Wide Receivers Coach

We were tough on Coach Scott in '09-'10 because of the poor overall receiver play that we saw from the Tigers. However, with an influx of quality talent and a complete offensive overhaul brought about by The Chad, all this changed last season. I want to focus on Scott but will discuss Morris' influence on the wide receiver position and, in our opinion, J. Scott as well.

Clemson's receiving corps was flat out awful during Scott's first couple years as the receivers coach. This was a mixture of poor discipline, less talent, and poor execution. We dropped a lot of very catchable passes and gave a very poor effort blocking. In a nutshell, their play was unacceptable and Scott's ability on the recruiting trail was his only saving grace.

The past two years have been a complete turnaround. Chad Morris came in and assured that all the offensive players would become more disciplined and partake in all the little things that make an offense successful-including perimeter blocking. Morris' up-tempo offense increased the number of practice reps as well. Repetition in this game improves your core abilities (catching the ball, running routes, etc...) and also makes running the actual plays almost second nature. The other big change-the talent level. We upgraded talent in a big way in January of 2011 and the freshmen who came in worked especially hard and pushed the guys ahead of them in all ways.

This year's receiver production was, in my opinion, both qualitatively and quantitatively the best in school history. This production comes despite star receiver Sammy Watkins missing significant time due to suspension and injury. DeAndre Hopkins more than filled the void left by Watkins' absence, having a career year that propelled him to forgo his senior season and take his talents to the professional level. Adam Humphries again busted his tail for this team and both Jaron Brown and Charone Peake had 20+ catches. When you combine this with Bryant's 30+ ypc average and toss in Brandon Ford's work from the TE position, you quickly see a group that is flat out dangerous for an opposing defense.

We've seen drastic improvement running routes, catching balls, and blocking on the edge. This is attributable to both the upgrade in talent at this position along with more/better practice repetition. The year over year improvement over the past three seasons is nothing to scoff out and, after remembering the '10 season, is nearly unbelievable. Back then I almost dreaded a pass intended for a receiver not named Hopkins and was concerned with wide receiver screens/wide running plays. The WR sure-handedness and ability to block in open space has improved dramatically.

The receiving numbers shown below illustrate this improvement. I will point out that these numbers are overall team statistics and do include receiving production out of the runningbacks as well.

YEAR

REC

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

2012

318

4181

13.1

69

40

2011

311

3952

12.7

65

33

2010

230

2543

11.1

74

17

2009

220

2688

12.2

77

23

Clemson got much better last season and improved upon those numbers in '12. 2011 was sparked by freshman phenom Sammy Watkins. Clemson didn't have Sammy for portions of the ‘12 season and he didn't appear 100% at other points of the campaign. Despite these statistical losses, the rest of the group stepped up in a big way-particularly Nuk Hopkins. We improve in all receiving areas. Here is how the statistics for the receivers and tight ends shook out in '12.

NAME

REC

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

DeAndre Hopkins

82

1405

17.1

62 (TD)

18

Sammy Watkins

57

708

12.4

61 (TD)

3

Brandon Ford

40

480

12

69 (TD)

8

Jaron Brown

21

345

16.4

38

0

Martavis Bryant

10

305

30.5

48

4

Adam Humphries

41

280

6.8

27

1

Charone Peake

25

172

6.9

27

2

Sam Cooper

10

93

9.3

25

2

Stanton Seckinger

4

35

8.8

25

1

Matt Porter

2

28

14

19

0

Julian Patton

1

16

16

16

0

Daniel Rodriguez

3

10

3.3

10

0


296

3877

13.1

69

39

These statistics highlight two real superstars with a solid group behind them. Filling the TE void with Ford was uplifting for this offense. I thought that Jaron Brown played well and am impressed with the improvement we've seen out of this guy since he arrived on campus. Humph works his ass off and contributed by with the spark and consistency the coaches saw when they brought him in. While Peake did have 25 catches on the year, we'll look for him to improve and take his game to the next level. Martavis Bryant has to get it going next season. He is a guy with a boatload of talent that has not been fulfilled since arriving on campus. He has been injured-and that kind of stuff happens. However, being suspended for the bowl game was disheartening. Let's hope to see more of him stretching the field and making long receptions next season as we all know he has the ability to fly and make big plays.

Recruiting Coordinator

Every year we try to explain the recruiting process to eliminate some of the myths and misnomers regarding the role of a "recruiting coordinator." To say the recruiting coordinator isn't intimately involved in the recruiting process would be a lie. The recruiting coordinator works with the head coach to develop and implement an overall recruiting strategy. This includes understanding how the roster numbers will be managed, assigning coaches to geographical recruiting regions, initially evaluating prospects, and managing the overall recruiting process. The recruiting coordinator doesn't typically make individual offers-those come after extensive staff discussion and approval from the head coach.

This is the general disclaimer/overview we typically give to best explain the duties of recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott under Coach Swinney:

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.

This season's recruiting class was, again, solid. While our Tigers may have missed on a couple big names down the stretch, we were able to bring in a class that most of the "experts" deem as top-15 nationally. While we didn't land Adams or Nkemdiche, we were able to pull Alexander on NSD. Getting an elite defensive lineman would have been nice but Clemson was able to address needs throughout this class.

Scott has recruited the upstate and Florida extensively. He's also been responsible for pulling players from more obscure (outside the Southeast) recruiting zones including Minnesota and Maryland. Scott is very familiar with the Sunshine State, particularly the Tallahassee to Jacksonville corridor. Scott uses some of the relationships built by his father to get after talent down in this talent-rich area of the Southeast.

Below you'll find the players that we've credited Jeff Scott as the primary recruiter or had an influential role in recruiting outside of his "standard" recruiting coordinator role.

NAME

Position

Rivals Rating

Assigned Recruiter(s)

Class

Ben Boulware

LB

4 stars

Chad Morris, Jeff Scott

2013

Tyshon Dye

RB

4 stars

Chad Morris, Jeff Scott, Tony Elliott

2013

Dorian O'Daniel

LB

4 stars

Jeff Scott

2013

Mike Williams

WR

4 stars

Marion Hobby, Jeff Scott

2013

Travis Blanks

DB

4 stars

Jeff Scott

2012

Patrick Destefano

OL

3 stars

Jeff Scott

2012

Kevin Dodd

DT

4 stars

Andre Powell, Jeff Scott, Danny Pearman

2012

Oliver Jones

OL

3 stars

Charlie Harbison, Jeff Scott

2012

Jay Jay McCullough

ATH

3 stars

Jeff Scott

2012

Roderick Byers

DE

3 stars

Jeff Scott, NSD offer/commit

2011

Cortez Davis

DB

4 stars

Charlie Harbison, Jeff Scott

2011

Kevin Dodd

DT

3 stars

Jeff Scott

2011

Adam Humphries

DB

2 stars

Jeff Scott, but a Dabo offer

2011

Ammon Lakip

K

2 stars

Jeff Scott

2011

Charone Peake

WR

4 stars

Jeff Scott

2011

Tony Steward

LB

5 stars

Jeff Scott

2011

What you probably noticed was a nice haul of athletes here for Scott. All four of the players he was keenly involved with in the '13 class were Rivals four-star rated. There is little doubt that Scott has picked up his game over the years and successfully recruited a lot of quality players while at Clemson.

Overall

As stated previously, the wide receiver play improved dramatically over the past two seasons. A lot of this credit goes to Chad Morris' arrival at Clemson and the improvement in talent here. Scott should get his due, though. We criticize when things don't go well and will give credit where credit is due. We really hope that Jeff has improved as a position coach to the point that he can keep these receivers at this level even if The Chad leaves while he is there. We also hope he is maturing as an overall offensive coach-particularly as I hear more and more rumors of Scott potentially replacing Morris at some point in the future.

From a recruiting standpoint, Jeff is doing a good job coordinating the efforts and brining in talent himself. While we point to some of the misses late in this class, Clemson brought in its third consecutive solid class. There is a lot to be said for that and it does not go unnoticed here.

The overall position will need someone to step up to fill the role that Nuk leaves behind. Hopkins was a stud who gave his all his entire Clemson career and made play after play. The young man was flat out ridiculous this past season. We also lose Jaron Brown and Brandon Ford due to graduation. Each of these guys made some clutch plays for the Tigers in '12 and improved over the course of their careers. I was tempted to write off Brown prior to last year but he really stepped to the plate the latter part of his career with much more consistent play. Ford was able to help fill the void left with Dwayne Allen's departure last year. We know Sammy can ball and Humphries is a reliable target who gives great effort all the time. We have to get better and more consistent play out of Peake and Bryant next season. Hopkins needs another gamebreaker/clutch receiver out there to take pressure off of him and give Clemson a playmaker down the field.

There are a lot of question marks surrounding the tight ends, though. None of the returning guys who got significant playing time last season left a lasting mark on me following the season and Clemson needs the big target that this position gives them in the passing game. We've been fortunate to take advantage of some favorable matchups here over the past couple seasons.

Overall, we are still in great shape at the receiver position due to the stellar '11 recruiting class. We'll see if Scott and the offensive staff can keep this passing game momentum going.

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