Way back in fall camp we started hearing about Clemson football freshman wide receiver Antonio Williams.
I’m generally hesitant to get my hopes up until freshmen see the field and perform. Some are wildly hyped and end up doing nothing of significance once they’re faced with similar talent on the defensive side of the ball. Some fail for other reasons.
Then there are players like Clemson’s true freshman Antonio Williams who has performed from day one.
Eight games into his freshman season Williams has the highest PFF.com grade for Clemson wide receivers and is second on the team overall behind tight end Davis Allen for those with 15 or more targets.
Williams has 29 receptions on 34 targets (85.3%) and leads the team in receptions and yards, and is second to Joseph Ngata (35) in targets. Williams also leads all receivers in missed tackles forced (4), is second in yards after the catch with 160 (Shipley, 177) and leads the team in yards per route run.
Oh, and he has a big fat 0 in the drop category.
In short, he’s been exactly what the Tigers needed.
For once the talking heads were right – Clemson football needed a receiver like Antonio Williams
During the offseason, I’d gotten tired of podcasts and talking heads that harped on the shortcomings of the Tigers wide receivers. One of those shortcomings that was pounded over and over was that Clemson didn’t have a Hunter Renfrow type receiver one that could be counted on when it was third and five, one that wasn’t the prototypical 6’4, 215 pound guy that goes deep the majority of the time.
The reality of college football these days is you need a guy like that and Williams is that guy for Clemson. We’ve seen him go deep, short and everything in between.
Williams is averaging 4.25 targets per game with three games of 4 targets, three with 6 targets and two with 2 targets.
As the calendar turns to November I would expect that to increase as the rotation tightens and the stakes get higher.