2013 Position Analysis: Jeff Scott and the WRs

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our position analyses with the WRs.

Jeff Scott is the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Clemson. Jeff is the son of former Clemson OL coach Brad Scott, was the holder at Clemson in the early 2000's, and is a Clemson University Alumnus. 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.

While this assessment is designed to discuss the wide receivers, we will occasionally blur the lines between the receivers and tight ends. Clemson frequently flexes its TEs which effectively turns them into receivers, so an occasional remark seems reasonable.

Here is our analysis of Coach Scott following the 2010 season, after the 2011 campaign, and our thoughts following the 2012 season. We rate Scott's coaching performance in three straight-forward 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

Four years ago we were about as tough on Jeff Scott as you could be, particularly as a receivers coach. I won't pull any punches...the receivers were absolutely terrible in all areas of the game sans one freshman. There gave little effort blocking, repeatedly dropped passes, and flat out played sloppy. In a nutshell, we had one competent receiver who looked like he actually wanted to do what it took to be good-Freshman Nuk Hopkins. The rest of these guys were more of a liability than an asset and Clemson was better off getting the ball to Michael Palmer or a running back than even considering one of these guys as a dependable option. Insert Chad Morris, a serious amount of recruited talent, and "want to" upgrade at the position (yes, it is amazing how much better you get when the players actually appear to give a shit instead of haphazardly going through the motions). The guys became more disciplined and this, combined with the vast skill / ability improvement, propelled this group to become one of the best in the nation. The arrival of Morris seemed to spark a lot of these items so it will be very difficult to discuss Scott and the receivers without also mentioning the offensive coordinator.

We argued that the receivers' output last year was probably the best in school history. This year's group, despite the loss of first round selection DeAndre Hopkins, was equal to or probably better than last year's crew regardless the criteria. The offense this season was asked to throw the ball more. The receivers responded with more overall receptions and receiving yards than last season despite the setbacks experienced at the Tight End position. Overall receiving statistics can be seen below (note that this table includes all receptions regardless of position over the past four seasons).

YEAR

REC

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

2013

341

4330

12.7

96

39

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

Overall passing/receiving numbers are very similar to 2012. There were more overall receptions and yards with a lower average per catch and one fewer TD grab on the season. Over the course of 13 games, these numbers appear comparable. The reduced YPC and increase in receptions can likely be attributed to more short passes on the season. This year we lost the frequent backside hitch passes that were completed to Nuk. I recall quite a few more screens and such on the year so that could be the culprit for this item.

Here are the individual statistics for the roster identified receivers for the 2013 season:

NAME

REC

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

Sammy Watkins

101

1464

14.5

96 (TD)

12

Martavis Bryant

42

828

19.7

76 (TD)

7

Adam Humphries

41

483

11.8

60 (TD)

2

Mike Williams

20

316

15.8

30 (TD)

3

Germone Hopper

23

149

6.5

26 (TD)

2

Charone Peake

8

84

10.5

25

1

Wes Forbush

2

23

11.5

17

0

Matt Porter

2

21

10.5

16

0

Daniel Rodriguez

7

20

2.9

7

1

Total

246

3388

13.8

96

28

The clear cut class of this field is Sammy Watkins. His numbers are eye-popping and unimaginable for a Clemson receiver prior to his arrival. 100+ receptions, 1464 yards, 12 TDs, multiple 90+ yard TD catches, his epic Orange Bowl and a career that may never be matched again by a Clemson receiver. All his damage was done in three seasons-one of which was marred by suspensions and various injuries.

There are several items that really stick out to me when I watch Watkins play. First and foremost, his hands are incredible. Watkins goes out and attacks the ball, appearing to almost stab the football out of the air. What's maybe more impressive is his overall work ethic and the pride Sammy took in blocking for others. Watkins never took a play off and blocked with the same effort and intensity he ran routes and caught the football. Little things like blocking, running consistent routes when he's not the #1 target, and assuring he is fundamentally sound across the board says a lot about his overall character. Sammy has enough talent alone to be a great receiver. He is not satisfied riding solely on his genetics. Watkins puts in effort to perfect the little things and improve in areas that aren't necessarily "fun" or eye-catching. When you get a guy with that much talent, that high a work ethic, and that high a level of pride in every aspect of his job as a football player, you have a really, really special player. His praises warrant a series of articles so I won't attempt to do it all here.

We harped on the need for Martavis Bryant to improve this year all offseason. We heard that Bryant underwent and attitude adjustment and took the game much more seriously this offseason because he was on the verge of pissing away a boatload of talent. I'll admit that I was skeptical-especially after a Georgia game that saw Bryant drop a couple critical passes and four overall that night. However, as the season wore on Bryant got more comfortable / confident and was a force for this offense. Bryant finally was able to use his body size and speed to Clemson's advantage. He killed Georgia Tech and was able to get behind several other defenses. His Orange Bowl touchdown reception was a thing of beauty...he simply wanted it more than the defender and went up to make the play. This is something that would not have happened in previous seasons.

As we've said here for years, Martavis Bryant probably has the most pure talent of any of the receivers. I am not saying by any stretch he's the most refined or anything like that, but just look at his body type and the speed he possesses. Those are numbers coaches drool over. Martavis Bryant still has a lot of skills items that require more than raw genetics. We've consistently seen shortcomings in his downfield blocking. We've also seen sloppy route running at times. These are items that should have been fixed a long time ago and are a product of quality preparation, effort, and attitude. He would benefit from another year in college to improve these areas. This would not even be a discussion had he taken the game and the opportunity he received more seriously earlier because these attributes would have already been learned and better perfected. That is a price he'll pay and a lesson for some of the younger guys out there who'll follow in his footsteps.

Adam Humphries has what you want in all your players-he loves to play football and gives it 110% every single time no matter the circumstance. We criticized Dabo for signing Humph as a DB/WR and have eaten those words ever since. Humph busts his ass every single play and will do whatever is necessary for this football team to win. We've said it before and we'll say it again, we'd love to have 11 guys on both sides of the football like Adam Humphries. Adam is a possession receiver who has been a short/medium depth receiver and is also frequently involved in various screen passes. Humph gets after it with perimeter and downfield blocking. His motor doesn't stop, he does what he's coached to do, and he does it until the whistle is blown. The only complaint I have about the staff's use of Humphries is in the return game, but that is a different discussion for a different time. We expect more of the same from him next year and appreciate the effort this young man puts into the game to better this team and this program.

Mike Williams showed out in Fall Camp and, due to Clemson's depth issues at this position, was assured to avoid the redshirt and play in 2013. When Charone Peake's season ended early in the year, it was apparent that Williams would see significant playing time in important situations. We got about what we expected to get out of him this past season. The true freshman showed why he was highly touted and why the coaches were excited about what they saw back in August. He had 20 catches and 2 TDs on the year as a supporting receiver. In this role, both the talent and inexperience were apparent. The 20 reception number (especially for a supporting freshman) is impressive. Conversely, his inability to understand hot route / read and react concepts was also apparent. These errors resulted in near misses and actual interceptions. We all know he's not a speedster but does run good routes and has good ball-skills. It is tough to hammer this guy because he will be an improved receiver next season and a guy we'll depend upon for clutch catches to move the sticks. There is no substitute for in-game experience and he got his share.

Germone Hopper was used a little more sparingly this fall than I expected, especially after the staff had to adjust to Peake's injury. Hopper is ideal for The Chad to work with because he is a guy who could be used in several spots including motion/shifting into the backfield. Despite being redshirted in '12, he was still a little green. I will say that we were all disappointed in Hopper's suspension (Boston College) for being really stupid violating team rules and general poor behavior. The timing of this suspension was critical as the Tigers were without Peake and Hopper had 16 receptions on the season heading into that game. This behavior was detrimental to both the football team and Hopper's growth in general. Hopefully Germone has the attitude adjustment needed. He has the tools to contribute in '14 but has to be committed to being the all-around contributor and leader moving forward. As shown by Bryant in years' past, commitment to the game over the entire course of a career is necessary for team success and individual growth. Bumps in the road and early issues can severely impact player evolution down the road.

Charone Peake's early season ACL tear was a big disappointment and a big loss to the team. Peake had five grabs for nearly 60 yards against UGa and three catches for 26 yards and a TD the following week. I was a bit annoyed by a couple passes he and Bryant should have hauled in that were not against the Dawgs. However, I believe he would have gotten more comfortable (like Bryant) with more playing time and more opportunities in key situations.

Because Peake played so little this season, it is impossible to give a good assessment for '13 only to say that we all expected him to pull through and compliment high classmates Watkins and Bryant. I think '13 would have been a 50 catch year for Peake and he clearly would have provided production and depth for the offense. Peake will participate in Spring Drills but is not expected to see any contact until the Fall. We'll be paying close attention to his progression headed into the camp and hope that he'll be back and 100% by then. He suffered his knee injury the second week of September so he'll be 10+ months removed from it when camp opens in early August.

Recruiting Coordinator

Per usual, you get the obligatory definition and description for a college football recruiting coordinator. If it seems like you've heard this song and dance before from us, you probably have but we feel it is important enough to emphasize each year. Everyone needs to understand and/or familiarize themselves with the actual role(s) of the 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 Sikes Hall. 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 year's overall class has again been impressive and ranks well nationally. This is a credit to the whole staff for their efforts along with Scott for organizing a large portion of the effort. As for Jeff in particular, 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. We saw him extend north of Jacksonville into Savannah this year as well. Scott uses some of the relationships built by his father to get after talent down in this talent-rich area of the Southeast.

As shown in the table below, Swinney's recruiting strategy has extensively involved Scott. Jeff Scott (as most WR coaches and "recruiting specialists" should be) has been involved in a large portion of the talent haul for this staff. Each of the past three cycles featured a majority of Rivals rated four stars. This is necessary given his assigned territory. If he weren't pulling his share of athletes out of Florida and the South Georgia / Georgia coastal regions we'd be asking a lot of questions. Instead, Clemson is progressing in these areas and Scott deserves his share of the credit for these accomplishments.

NAME

Position

Hometown

Ht/Wt/40

Rivals Rating

Assigned Recruiter(s)

Class

Demarre Kitt

WR

Tyrone, GA

6'1"/195/4.6

4 stars

Jeff Scott

2014

Milan Richard

TE

Savannah, GA

6'2"/233

4 stars

Jeff Scott, Danny Pearman, Chad Morris

2014

Artavis Scott

WR

Tarpon Springs, FL

5'11"/180

4 stars

Jeff Scott

2014

Trevion Thompson

WR

Durham, NC

6'2"/184

4 stars

Robbie Caldwell, Jeff Scott

2014

Ben Boulware

LB

Anderson, SC

6'0"/225/4.7

4 stars

Chad Morris, Jeff Scott

2013

Tyshon Dye

RB

Elberton, GA

6'0"/200

4 stars

Chad Morris, Jeff Scott, Tony Elliott

2013

Dorian O'Daniel

LB

Olney, MD

6'1"/201/4.5

4 stars

Jeff Scott

2013

Mike Williams

WR

Santee, SC

6'4"/185

4 stars

Marion Hobby, Jeff Scott

2013

Travis Blanks

DB

Tallahassee, FL

6'1"/195/4.4

4 stars

Jeff Scott

2012

Patrick Destefano

OL

Roebuck, SC

6'4"/275/5.1

3 stars

Jeff Scott

2012

Kevin Dodd

DT

Chatham, VA

6'5"/277

4 stars

Andre Powell, Jeff Scott, Danny Pearman

2012

Oliver Jones

OL

Ninety Six, SC

6'6"/322

3 stars

Charlie Harbison, Jeff Scott

2012

Jay Jay McCullough

ATH

Fort Mill, SC

6'5"/232/4.5

3 stars

Jeff Scott

2012

Roderick Byers

DE

Rock Hill, SC

6'4"/262/NA

3 stars

Jeff Scott

2011

Cortez Davis

DB

Daytona Beach, FL

6'3"/200/NA

4 stars

Charlie Harbison, Jeff Scott

2011

Kevin Dodd

DT

Greer, SC

6'5"/277/4.8

3 stars

Jeff Scott

2011

Adam Humphries

DB

Roebuck, SC

5'11"/176/4.5

2 stars

Jeff Scott

2011

Ammon Lakip

K

Alpharetta, GA

5'11"/175/NA

2 stars

Jeff Scott

2011

Charone Peake

WR

Roebuck, SC

6'3"/200/4.4

4 stars

Jeff Scott

2011

Tony Steward

LB

St Augustine, FL

6'2"/225/NA

5 stars

Jeff Scott

2011

Tavaris Barnes

DT

Jacksonville, FL

6'5"/250/NA

4 stars

Jeff Scott

2010

Joe Craig

ATH

Gaffney, SC

6'0"/170/4.4

3 stars

Jeff Scott

2010

Kalon Davis

OL

Chester, SC

6'5"/325/5.1

3 stars

Jeff Scott

2010

Bryce McNeal

WR

Minneapolis, MN

6'2"/170/4.5

4 stars

Jeff Scott

2009

Overall, JS has embraced the recruiting trail and his role as recruiting coordinator. He's taken advantage of relationships built over the years and pulls his share of players. Additionally, he's helped organize annual classes that rank out among the better in the nation. While we would like to see some strategic recruiting changes (i.e., more linemen taken each year and reassignment of the Charlotte area in particular), it is tough to qualm with the results and our viewed issues are likely decisions that are above his position and / or he can't wholly control. As such, he's doing what he's asked to do and Clemson is continually stocking the shelves (particularly the skills positions) with quality players.

Overall

Scott has evolved during his time as a full member of this staff. While the addition of Morris several years ago likely sparked this progression, Scott deserves credit for improvements at receiver and solid recruiting results. A rising tide raises all ships and certainly this progression warrants praise for all involved-particularly Jeff Scott.

Scott does have his work cut out for him in '14. No longer do the Tigers have an established superstar at his position and will fill the ranks with players who have not been asked to own the spotlight during their collegiate careers. That being said, this group has enough talent to remain one of the better corps in college football. Clemson gets Peake back and returns a more experienced Mike Williams. If Hopper keeps his head on straight, he will be used in a variety of ways. The incoming freshman class of Kitt, Scott, and Thompson reload talent. This group will also benefit from the '14 class' recruited tight ends and will be led by hard working Adam Humphries.

There is no question that Clemson is rapidly creating quality stability at the wide receiver position. We will be interested to see guys step up and newcomers improve core technique catching the football, running crisp routes, and blocking for their teammates. These areas have improved over the past 3-4 seasons and Scott will be looked upon to see that they don't deteriorate back to the lackadaisical fiasco we saw in '09-'10.

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