This time last spring, Garrett Williams was hoping that he’d have a chance to step into a larger role within the Clemson offense after Jordan Leggett left for the NFL draft.
Unfortunately for Williams and for Clemson, Williams suffered an ACL tear in the spring that cost him the entire 2017 season. In his absence, Clemson didn’t get a lot of productivity from the tight end positions, with Milan Richard leading the position group with 18 catches for 210 yards and a score.
However, Williams is finally healthy again and he’s standing out this spring, which could mean more production from Clemson tight ends on the whole in 2018.
“His confidence is at an all-time high and he’s catching the ball, looking more fluid with his route running, so he’s probably had the best spring of any of those guys,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said according to Matt Connolly of The State.
“We’re really, really happy for him and we knew he was the kind of guy that had the core makeup with the adversity, he was going to use it to make him better and he took that time not just to focus on rehabbing his knee but to improve every area of his game and we’re seeing that as we’ve gone throughout the spring.”
Prior to the injury, Williams had primarily served as a blocking tight end in his first two seasons on campus, catching just one pass for 13 yards despite playing in 30 games. But the optimism over his receiving ability this spring should lead to a larger workload in the passing game.
And, as we’ve seen in the past, the Clemson offense is simply more dynamic with the threat of productivity from the tight end position. Leggett hauled in 86 passes for 1,261 yards and 15 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Clemson, with the team making it all the way to the national title game (winning once) in both those seasons.
Of course, that’s not to suggest that Williams suddenly puts up Leggett-like numbers. However, having Williams back should make them more well-rounded as a whole.