Everyone that watches Clemson football is aware of the ability of receiver Sammy Watkins.
He's dangerous anywhere with the football, so long as he's on the field. And with Deandre Hopkins having departed to pursue an NFL career, Watkins will have the opportunity to shine as the primary receiver.
But with teams sure to roll their coverage to contain Watkins, he will need help from his supporting cast of receivers. Luckily for him, Clemson happens to have a cast that is among the best in the ACC and arguably in the nation, and these supporting players' roles will be expanded in 2012.
First, we have rising junior Charone Peake.
This Moore, South Carolina native has been patient, waiting in the wings behind the now departed Jaron Brown, but got more playing time due to Watkins' suspensions and injuries last season. Peake flashed his ball skills and was reliable with his opportunities, catching 25 balls for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He has an opportunity to be a bigger part of the offense this season and could get more single-coverage looks due to the presence of Watkins.
We can't forget about Martavis Bryant, a guy whose 6'4'' frame is nothing to shake a stick at.
Bryant has great speed and has established himself as a very credible deep threat, and while he only caught 10 balls in 2012, he did have 305 receiving yards, and four of his 10 catches went for touchdowns. The only question is whether he can be dependable week in and week out, as he has occasionally missed time due to nagging injuries and academic suspensions.
The most underestimated of the group is Adam Humphries, who was also Charone Peake's teammate in high school.
Playing as Watkins' primary backup can cast a pretty big shadow over you, but Humphries has taken advantage of his opportunities. He catches every ball that comes his way, reminding many Tiger fans of former receiver Tyler Grisham, who was also a tough, gritty possession receiver that caught nearly every pass and took what the defense gave him. Humphries is in that same mold, and he took a step forward in 2012 with 41 catches for 280 yards and a touchdown.
Dabo Swinney and the coaching staff are high on him, so don't be surprised if Humphries starts in one of the two open receiving positions.
A new addition this spring will be the speedster Germone Hopper, who coaches would have loved to play in 2012, but numbers and talent at the position forced the coaches to wisely redshirt him, a good move for the Tigers moving forward. Hopper adds more speed to the Tigers, and they will enjoy having that extra speed out of the slot, where Hopper should primarily function in this offense.
The Tigers added two receivers in the 2013 recruiting class in Mike Williams and Kyrin Priester, but for now, they seem to be headed for redshirts because of the talent and numbers above them.
Which member of the supporting cast will make the biggest impact in 2013?
Watkins is undoubtedly the biggest threat in the passing game for any opposing secondary, but his supporting cast is composed of a group that could, and would, start for any ACC team and arguably any team in the nation.