Clemson Football: Potential wide receiver targets in the transfer portal

Oct 29, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Dorian Singer (5) reacts after being ruled out of bounds against the USC Trojans during the first half at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Dorian Singer (5) reacts after being ruled out of bounds against the USC Trojans during the first half at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Clemson Football had little time to celebrate their ACC championship win over the North Carolina Tar Heels before the postseason transfer portal window opened.

While several Tigers entered their names to continue their careers elsewhere, speculation continues to build that Clemson could be more actively looking at bringing transfers into the program. That speculation comes from outside the program, and isn’t based on anything said by the coaching staff publicly. We don’t know yet if the Tigers will pursue any transfers.

If they do look seriously at transfers, one position that has faced criticism all season has been the wide receivers. There are some promising young players on the roster like Antonio Williams, Adam Randall, and Cole Turner, but overall most observers agree that the receivers room needs an upgrade.

If they do decide to look at receivers, Coach Swinney will want to focus on players who have experience and production at their previous program. That does limit the list to a handful of candidates. Further, many receivers are entering the portal in search of NIL benefits, which isn’t going to draw them to Clemson. Ultimately, the coaches will have to sift through the options to see who is a fit.

Here are a few of the wide receivers who have entered the portal that Clemson might look at if they decide to pursue a pass-catcher. Keep this in mind as you scroll: Williams led the wide receivers with 563 yards this season. He was followed by Joseph Ngata with 442 yards and Beaux Collins with 373 yards.

Dorian Singer, Arizona, Class of 2021

Singer is already receiving a good amount of hype. He emerged at the mid-point of the 2021 season as a freshman for the Wildcats, and he used that momentum moving into this season. He had 1,105 yards on 66 receptions as a true sophomore. He caught six touchdowns in 2022. He had four 100-yard games this season.

With two years left to play, the 6’-1” receiver has the talent to be a difference-maker for a contender, but NIL might influence him elsewhere.

Ali Jennings, Old Dominion, Class of 2019

This is Jennings’s second entry into the transfer portal. He originally signed with West Virginia out of high school. He transferred to Old Dominion before the 2021 season. He is listed as 6’-2” and 196 pounds.

Jennings was named a First Team All-Sun Belt player in 2022, following up on his All-Conference USA Honorable Mention in 2021. Over the past two seasons, he has 116 receptions for 2,025 yards. He caught nine touchdowns in 2022. He had five 100-yard games and a stretch of seven straight games with a touchdown.

Like a lot of the candidates you will see on this list, Jennings played at the Group of Five level, but he has the kind of production to indicate that he can be impactful for Power Five programs. He will have one season of eligibility remaining.

Dominic Lovett, Missouri, Class of 2021

Lovett is considered one of the best football players to enter the portal thus far. He had 56 catches for 846 yards and three touchdowns. At 5’10” and 187 pounds, he has never been known for his stature. Instead, Lovett has made his mark with speed and hands.

247Sports says that Missouri aspires to keep Lovett in the fold, but the lure to play elsewhere may be too great. He will have two seasons left to play.

Dont’e Thornton, Oregon, Class of 2021

Coach Swinney has usually cited production on the field as the priority over high school rating or potential. If he wants to make an exception to this, Thornton is a player he should consider.

Thornton was a 4-star recruit in the 2021 cycle, the 57th-ranked player in the 247Sports Composite. He is 6’5” and 199 pounds. You can’t teach height, and the Tigers haven’t had a guy who can high-point the ball the last couple of seasons.

Thornton does not have the on-field production of most of these other players. He has 366 yards on 17 receptions and one touchdown. Potential is the word for him.

It might benefit Clemson Football to consider receivers who have played at the Group of Five or the FCS level

Elijah Spencer, Charlotte, Class of 2021

The 49ers had a season to forget, but one of the bright spots was Spencer, a 6’-1”, 193-pound receiver from Irmo, South Carolina. He was the Conference USA Freshman of the Year in 2021. In 2022, he led the team with 943 yards on 57 receptions. He scored nine touchdowns.

Charlotte doesn’t play at a high level, but Spencer is a local player from South Carolina. He wasn’t on the radar when he was in high school. Charlotte was one of only four scholarship offers that he received. He is an example of a transfer who increased his profile considerably at his first college football stop.

Grant Dubose, Charlotte, Class of 2019

Another Charlotte wide receiver who might interest the Tigers is Dubose, who is another big-body who can be physical and high-point the football at 6’3″ and 200 pounds. He had 787 yards and nine touchdowns on 63 catches in 2022.

Dubose doesn’t have as much eligibility as Spencer (he only has one season left), but that might be something the Tigers prefer. They have multiple young guys they want to get playing time, but a guy like Dubose can fill a void in the short-term.

Drae McCray, Austin Peay, Class of 2021

McCray has played at the FCS level, so that must be taken into account, but the production is there. He has 1,021 receiving yards on 75 receptions in 2022. He scored nine touchdowns.

At 5’-9” and 177 pounds, he relies on speed to make plays, which is something the Tigers have lacked in the receiver room. Clemson will have to move fast though: he already has offers from 17 FBS programs, including nine in the Power Five, such as Oregon, Virginia Tech, and Maryland.

Oh, he also plays some special teams.

Dante Wright, Colorado State, Class of 2019

Wright is another smaller receiver who uses speed to make plays. He is listed as 5’-9” and 180 pounds. Wright was a promising player as a freshman and sophomore who won accolades from ESPN and Phil Steel. He was injured in 2021 and saw limited action. He played two games in 2022 before withdrawing to preserve his eligibility and enter the portal. He will have two seasons left to play.

While leaving the Rams early in 2022 might be a red flag for some, many point to the multiple changes at the head coaching position at Colorado State as a contributor to Wright’s diminished impact. His best season was under Mike Bobo, who was then replaced by Steve Addazio, who was then replaced by Jay Norvell.

Wright’s career total with the Rams is 1,674 yards on 121 receptions for seven touchdowns, which is impressive considering he missed much of the 2021 season and most of 2022.

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