Clemson University

The secret is out: Clemson has a pair of stud freshman receivers

Dabo Swinney discusses the luxury of having two good quarterbacks

Trevor Lawrence and Chase Brice both have experience in big games
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Trevor Lawrence and Chase Brice both have experience in big games

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was pretty open throughout the spring about how pleased he was with the way freshmen receivers Frank Ladson and Joseph Ngata were performing during their first few months on campus.

Now Clemson fans and the rest of the nation can see why.

Ladson and Ngata led their teams in receptions and receiving yards in Clemson’s Orange & White spring game Saturday afternoon with both players topping the 100-yard mark.

Ladson finished with five catches for 102 yards in the White team’s victory, while Ngata caught five passes for 127 yards in the loss.

“Y’all have heard me say many times, I’m not trying to keep a secret on those guys. They’re ready,” Swinney said. “I mean they’re really, really talented players, very coachable. Just love to prepare, high-character guys.”

Tigers star receivers Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins also had impressive games.

Ross caught four passes for 75 yards, including a one-handed grab over Derion Kendrick, while Higgins had five receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown.

Those two will still lead Clemson’s receivers this year and should be two of the best in the nation. But the future is bright with Ladson and Ngata.

“Frank and Joseph are pretty elite as far as just what their starting point is,” Swinney said. “They’ve got a ways to go, but their starting point, it’s pretty impressive what I’ve seen this spring.”

DK plays D ... and plays well

Kendrick played mostly defense on Saturday after making the switch from receiver to cornerback early on during the spring.

He was matched up one-on-one with Ross throughout most of the first half and held his own, finishing with three tackles. Kendrick also returned punts and played a few snaps on offense, but it appears as though most of his snaps will come as a defender this fall.

“He’s had an awesome spring... It was just fish to water. It was just natural,” Swinney said. “I really think he’s a guy that will play both (sides of the ball) as he goes through his career, regardless of what ends up being his home, but right now he’s our best corner outside of A.J. (Terrell) and has earned it.”

Special teams battles

Clemson could have an interesting punting and field goal kicking competition this fall.

Punter Will Spiers, the returning starter, had six punts for an average of 42 yards, while freshman Aidan Swanson had seven punts for an average of 41 yards.

Backup field goal kicker Steven Sawicki made all three of his field goal attempts with two coming from 43 yards out, while the presumed starter B.T. Potter made his only attempt from 30 yards out.

Swinney indicated that the field goal and punting battles will continue during preseason camp.