Clemson Football has been without its best wide receiver from 2022 for the past three games. Antonio Williams has been injured, but there is hope that he will be able to return next weekend when the Tigers travel to Miami to play the Hurricanes.
In his absence, freshman Tyler Brown stepped up against the Syracuse Orange. Brown had over 150 yards in that game and played well against Florida State. He took a step back against Wake Forest with just three catches and a mishandled punt.
Brown is going to be a great wide receiver for the Tigers, but as with many freshmen, inconsistency from game to game will likely be something we see this year.
Beaux Collins has been the opposite. Except for the Florida Atlantic game, Collins has been consistent from game to game this season. He’s either had four or more catches and/or a touchdown in the other five games. He doesn’t have Brown’s speed or athleticism, but he has been reliable.
Both receivers have 24 catches this season. Collins has one more yard than Brown (339 to 338).
In theory, Clemson will have a solid starting lineup when Williams returns. While both Williams and Brown tend to rep the slot, that doesn’t mean one or the other can’t line up on the left or the right.
A starting three of Williams, Collins, and Brown with Troy Stellato coming off the bench would be solid. There is just one question.
Will Antonio Williams be the same guy for Clemson Football when he returns from injury?
Injuries can be tricky for receivers, especially if they involve the knees or ankle. Williams was seen wearing a boot, so he likely injured his ankle.
If it was minor and just needed a few weeks to heal, he could come back at full strength. If that’s the case, it’s game on for the receivers.
The reality is that we have seen receivers who can’t come back at full strength following injuries, even ones that weren’t season-ending. Collins started off the 2022 season well, but a shoulder injury limited his effectiveness for most of the season.
Injuries continually derailed Joseph Ngata, which was what led to Collins getting so much playing time as a freshman in 2021. Justyn Ross played most of that season with an injured foot, and he never really played as well as he did in 2018 and 2019.
Is Williams completely healed up? Or is he simply healed up enough to get on the field?
The team rarely gives out that much info ahead of time. Fans may not know until the Tigers lineup against the Hurricanes.