Counting down Clemson's top 10 most important Tigers: No. 4 Mike Williams

While Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant were basking in the glow of being Tajh Boyd's favorite receivers, there was a second string toiling in practice.

When Clemson's 2014 opening day starting quarterback was taking second reps, he was throwing to the guy expected to be Clemson's 2014 leading receiver.

Mike Williams is, as Boyd praised him in August before his freshman year, "a dawg." Loaded with skills, waiting for his opportunity.

His rookie year didn't exactly mirror the one Watkins showed in 2011. Williams hauled in no more than three catches in any game, though he had three grabs in three straight games against Virginia, Georgia Tech and The Citadel, with a touchdown in each of the latter two.

Williams started a few games early on in place of Bryant, though Bryant steadied himself later on. Problem is, Williams disappeared in the South Carolina and Ohio State games.

But again, that was with Boyd leading the way. Cole Stoudt's now slinging it around as the first-teamer, and it was no accident Williams and tight end Jordan Leggett were the ones catching touchdown passes from Stoudt in the spring game. Those are Stoudt's preferred targets entering the season. Those are the fellas catching passes late into summer nights at the practice facility when no one's watching.

Soon enough, everyone will be watching. Bet on No. 7 to not exactly make you forget about Sammy Watkins, but at least reassure Clemson fans all is not lost.

- Aaron Brenner


No. 10: Stephone Anthony

No. 9: Shaq Anthony

No. 8: Mackensie Alexander

No. 7: Tavaris Barnes

No. 6: Isaiah Battle

No. 5: Jayron Kearse

Coming up: No. 3 Grady Jarrett