Collins’ Departure Another Example Why Future Is Now for Freshmen Wideouts
The former four-star prospect displayed glimpses of his potential in his freshman season, when he was called upon to start three games due to injury-prone receivers. He would record six catches against UConn and six more in the Cheez-It Bowl win over Iowa State, finishing his freshman campaign with 16 receptions for 221 yards.
Coming into the 2022 season, though, with the Tigers pretty much back at full strength, Collins was once again relegated to a reserve role, playing 24 snaps in the opener and then 27 against Furman. However, with Adam Randall making his debut against Louisiana Tech, that number shrank dramatically, as Collins was on the field for just 12 plays. He had only one catch for eight yards in the first three games.
After Randall’s ACL injury in the spring, the coaches were raving about him and it was clear that there were big plans this season for the freshman. He’s one of those big, fast, physical receivers and his return should provide an immediate boost to an offense that has lacked consistency passing the ball through the first three games.
Randall is a potential difference maker in this offense. This is something it has sorely lacked over the past three seasons. Clemson will travel to Wake Forest to face a crucial ACC matchup.
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It’s also worth noting the progress Antonio Williams has made in a short amount of time. The freshman, who arrived on campus in the summer, has already proven that he is capable of being the playmaker this offense needs. Williams is quick and agile with the ball in hand. He is tied with Beaux Collins for the most catches this season with nine.
Williams’ snap count has increased with each passing week, while Dacari Collins, E.J., and even E.J. have seen theirs decrease. Williams has seen his snap counts increase, while Dacari Collins and even E.J. have taken hits. E.J. Williams logged just 14 snaps, after playing 47 over the first two games.
Perhaps Dacari Collins saw the writing on a wall. It is obvious that the coaches are now identifying the players who will play the most. He was being passed by some younger players on the roster. Although he cannot officially enter the transfer portal until the end of the season, he can leave now to save a year of eligibility.
Losing someone of his caliber and from a depth perspective, it’s never an ideal situation. The former blue-chip prospect is a great talent and it would have been fascinating to see how Collins’ career would unfold if he had stayed with the Tigers.
At the end of it all, players develop at different rates and Randall and Antonio Williams are both ahead of Collins at this time.
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The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.