CLEMSON — Of course Charone Peake would have helped Clemson’s offense during its quest for an ACC championship. That’s why he was dubbed the Tigers’ No. 2 receiver — Sammy Watkins’ sidekick, so to speak.
With Peake lost for the season due to a knee injury suffered last Tuesday in a non-contact practice drill, Adam Humphries moves from utility backup to the starting lineup – which doesn’t bother offensive coordinator Chad Morris.
“He’s very versatile, he’s extremely intelligent, he’s got a great feel for the game and knows how to get open,” Morris said. “We wouldn’t have won the games we’ve won without Adam Humphries over my first two years here, because he’s that much of a threat for us and very dependable.”
Humphries surrenders the size (5-11, 190 pounds) and speed of a prototypical lanky receiver like Peake or Martavis Bryant, but his production has pleased the coaches. He made 41 catches last fall, including a personal-best eight in the Chick-fil-A Bowl win over LSU last Dec. 31, though only two of his career 55 catches have gone for at least 20 yards.
“He definitely provides mismatches,” Morris said. “You’ll see Adam play all over the field.”
As for Peake, he will apply for a medical redshirt, which would grant him a full two years of eligibility remaining for 2014-15.
“Terrible for him. You hate that for him,” Morris said. “A guy that was having such a good start to the year, and put in so much effort — this was his time. But that’s part of football.”
Next in line
After the big three of Watkins, Bryant and Humphries, freshman Germone Hopper becomes the fourth receiver with the ability to fill in anywhere. He earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors in Week 2 for his six-catch, 66-yard, two-TD performance against S.C. State.
Then there are freshmen T.J. Green and Mike Williams, who each logged consistent reps in the second half against SC State.
“They both play extremely fast,” Morris said. “T.J.s probably one of the most physical receivers that we do have. It’s just learning to play fast as far as thinking on your feet.
“They’re going to have to play earlier and more often than what we were anticipating, but they both have the opportunity to change the game because of the way they play.”
Stan’s the man
Porter-Gaud product Stanton Seckinger is now listed as Clemson’s starting tight end, leapfrogging Darrell Smith.
“Stanton provides just a big mismatch,” Morris said. “He’s got great speed; a tough kid, he moves well.”
Sam Cooper and Jordan Leggett, working their way back from knee injuries, add depth.
“You’re still going to see Coop and you’re still going to see Darrell,” Morris said, “and we’ll keep bringing Jordan along.”
Clemson in the NFL
It was a big week for last year’s stars of the Clemson offense.
DeAndre Hopkins, a first-round pick of the Houston Texans in April, made a circus touchdown catch in overtime to complete Houston’s 30-24 comeback win over Tennessee in overtime. Hopkins, a first-team all-ACC receiver in 2012, made seven catches for 117 yards.
Farther west, tailback Andre Ellington helped Arizona to a 25-21 win over Detroit with a 36-yard touchdown reception.
“That’s pretty neat right there, to see those Clemson guys performing on Sunday,” Morris said. “We were definitely talking about it after practice yesterday.”
The most famous former Clemson skill player starring in the NFL, Buffalo tailback C.J. Spiller produced his seventh 100-yard rushing effort in the Bills’ 24-23 win over Carolina.
As expected, running back Tyshon Dye (back), cornerback Mackensie Alexander (groin), defensive tackle Scott Pagano (ankle) have been ruled out for Thursday’s game at North Carolina State. None have appeared yet this season.
Safety Korrin Wiggins (hamstring), who can play the nickel position, and linebacker B.J. Goodson (concussion) are questionable. They each made their debuts against Georgia, but sat out vs. SC State.
Wake Forest game at 3:30 p.m.
The Tigers’ Homecoming game against Wake Forest (1-2) Sept. 28 will kick off at 3:30 p.m. Television plans will be finalized Sunday; it will either be aired everywhere on ESPNU, or broadcast regionally on ABC and nationally on ESPN2.