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2022 Clemson Football Season Review: Wide Receivers

Young talent promises a brighter future.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Clemson Anderson Independent Mail-USA TODAY Sports


With how the year before played out, most fans assumed the offense in 2022 could only improve from the much-critiqued 2021 iteration. A litany of issues across the team had created one of the worst years statistically in quite some time, but there was reason to believe a return to form would be found.

Wide receiver play was especially egregious in 2021, and only one receiver managed at least 500 yards (Justyn Ross). Blocking also seemed to be an art of the past with WRU, and many fans wondered when one of the heralded talents on the roster would break out.

I was overly optimistic in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way with my season preview for 2022, but I was more honest in our STS roundtable preview:

If I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t foresee the wide receivers having a massive improvement. I think there are some deeper-rooted issues with this unit at the moment, from blocking and route-running, to just lacking top-end talent.

Although Dabo had plenty of praise for his receivers during the off-season, many of us entered this season with an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude.


2022 WR Stats

Player Name Receptions Yards Average Long Touchdowns
Player Name Receptions Yards Average Long Touchdowns
Antonio Williams 56 604 10.8 59 4
Joseph Ngata 41 526 12.8 46 2
Beaux Collins 22 373 17 59 5
Brannon Spector 15 195 13 43 2
Cole Turner 8 161 20.1 68 0
Adam Randall 10 128 12.8 18 0
EJ Williams 7 70 10 14 0
Drew Swinney 8 63 7.9 17 0
Will Taylor 5 16 3.2 20 1
Dacari Collins 1 8 8 8 0
Hamp Greene 2 7 3.5 6 0
Tye Herbstreit 1 4 4 4 0

Antonio Williams was by far Clemson’s most reliable and impactful receiver in 2022. His freshman year was a strong enough debut to earn Freshman All-America honors, and he should continue to lead this group next year. This catch against Furman in Week 2 let us all know what kind of playmaker he would prove to be for the offense:

Behind him, Joseph Ngata didn’t exactly put together a sensational senior campaign like we hoped he finally would, but he had a respectable year nonetheless. His last game in a Tiger uniform was actually his best, and he is now attempting to ride that momentum into the NFL draft, where he is currently projected as a fourth-rounder.

Beaux Collins only recorded a reception in eight games this year, but he was able to collect five touchdowns, tied with TE Davis Allen for most on the team. Collins struggled with consistency and injuries and will look to bounce back in 2023 with a new signal-caller at the helm.

Brannon Spector had his most productive season and made several splash plays, including this juggling catch in a shootout against Wake Forest:

He only caught more than 2 passes in a game once all season but will provide depth and experience for the wide receiver room in 2023.

Adam Randall was all the talk during spring practice but suffered a torn ACL that set his development back quite a bit. He saw action as early as Week 3 and while he never made a huge impact on the field, his upside is evident.

The biggest surprise came with Cole Turner flashing in the ACC championship game against UNC with several big-time catches. He nabbed 4 more receptions against UT in the Orange Bowl - his rapport with Cade Klubnik will only improve with another full off-season.

Overall, the wide receivers failed to return to the dominant play we enjoyed during the 2010s, but it’s difficult to fully evaluate them in the context of the DJU situation and a first-year offensive coordinator being fired.

Looking Ahead

Joseph Ngata, EJ Williams, and Dacari Collins are all gone. Antonio Williams and Beaux Collins will likely be the top dogs for 2023, but I’m more curious to see who emerges behind them as the third target.

Will Spector take that next step and become a consistent threat? Perhaps Randall takes over with a healthy off-season and lives up to his lofty pre-season hype. And what about Troy Stellato, who we have seen very little of thanks to injury struggles of his own?

Cade Klubnik will be the starter entering next season and will hopefully give these receivers more consistency to work with than the up-and-down play of 2022. Add new offensive coordinator Garrett Riley to the mix, along with some better luck on the injury front, and I wouldn’t be surprised if 2023 is the best year since 2020 for WRU.

Freshman Noble Johnson will arrive in the spring, accompanied by Ronan Hanifan (all-star name), Tyler Brown, and Misun Kelley in the summer.