Clemson University

What Clemson is adding to its already talented group of receivers for 2019

Several of Clemson’s receivers could be mistaken for members of a basketball team getting off the bus in 2018 with Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross and Diondre Overton all standing at 6-foot-4.

The Tigers can now round out a starting five after adding 6-foot-4 receivers Frank Ladson and Joe Ngata for the 2019 recruiting class.

Ladson and Ngata are ranked as two of the top nine receivers in the country for this cycle by the 247Sports Composite that factors in all networks, and they add to Clemson’s already impressive-looking group of wideouts. Clemson also signed 6-foot-1 receiver Brannon Spector for the class of 2019.

“If it was a beauty pageant we’d win, that’s for sure,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “They are three great looking prospects.”

Ladson, Ngata and Spector don’t just look the part, but they also have the skill set to go with it.

Ladson was ranked as a four-star prospect and the No. 39 overall player in the country by 247Sports Composite after catching 50 passes for 1,133 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. The Miami native set a school record for receiving yards in a season as a senior in 2018.

“Frank Ladson is 6-5, can run like the wind,” Swinney said. “He’s as fast a guy as we’ve had come through. Great ball skills.”

Ngata, a California native, was ranked as a five-star prospect by Rivals, while 247Sports Composite had Ngata as a four-star prospect and the No. 52 overall player in the country. Ngata caught 66 passes for 1,272 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior in 2018.

Spector, whose father played receiver for the Tigers, was rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports Composite. The Georgia native caught 49 passes for 719 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018.

“I got a chance to see (Ladson and Spector) in particular in camp... and man it’s a really, really talented group,” Swinney said. “And you throw in Ngata, who is very unique. Thick, long arms, great length, great ball skills. Very natural ball skills, all three of these guys. It’s just a natural thing for them. This is going to be a fun group to coach. I think all three of them can play anywhere. And I think by the time their careers are over they will play everywhere.”

Clemson is losing starting receiver Hunter Renfrow and key contributor Trevion Thompson off of this past year’s squad but returns plenty of talent in Higgins, Ross, Amari Rodgers and others.

Ladson, Ngata and Spector will have an opportunity to come in and compete for playing time immediately in 2019, and each of the three could have even bigger roles in 2020 as Overton will graduate after this upcoming season and Higgins and Rodgers could opt to leave school early to enter the NFL draft.

“All three of them are mid-years, and all three of them will be here going through spring practice. It’s really good,” Swinney said. “We’re losing Renfrow and Trevion, so to get those three guys in the mix, and Tee will be a junior and Amari will be a junior next year, it’s a great opportunity for them to come in and be a part of a really, really good group.”

Matt Connolly is the Clemson beat writer and covers recruiting and college sports for The State newspaper and The