COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Coach Dabo Swinney said Clemson's offense will continue to run smoothly with reserve receiver Adam Humphries in the starting lineup.
Humphries is replacing Charone Peake, who was the Tigers (2-0) second-leading receiver when he tore his ACL in a non-contact drill a week ago and needs season-ending surgery. So Humphries, Peake's high-school teammate from Dorman, will be front-and-center when Clemson faces North Carolina State (2-0) in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams Thursday night.
"Adam Humphries is a special player," Swinney said Tuesday. "We're fortunate to have a great player like Adam who can step in. From that standpoint, I think we're OK. Where this really hurts us is our depth."
Humphries gave Clemson the luxury of having a fast, sure-handed receiver to sub for Peake, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. With Humphries now a starter, Swinney will have to rely on less proven players like Germone Hopper, Mike Williams and T.J. Green, who have a combined eight career catches between them. Swinney also said junior Matt Porter, who's got two career catches in a reserve role, can fit into Clemson's rotation.
The Tigers threw to 14 players in the South Carolina State win and will likely need to call on many of those pass-catchers as the season continues.
"That's what we got, all great players, and we're going to have to ramp up the development," Swinney said.
Peake, a junior, is expected to have surgery next month during Clemson's midsemester break so he'll get a few days to rest without worrying about going to class. If all goes as planned, Peake will be granted a medical redshirt and have two full years left at Clemson, Swinney said.
Watkins said Peake, who is his roommate, is holding up well despite the injury and is confident he'll return to his old form next season. For now, Watkins said it's up to himself and Bryant to become even more of an offensive focus than they've been.
"I think having this week off, we've prepared well and we'll see a lot of big plays from (Bryant) and hopefully myself," Watkins said.
Swinney's confident Humphries will excel in his increased role.
Humphries has started five of 29 games in his career with 63 catches and one touchdown. And Swinney says Humphries always seems to be in the middle of Clemson's big moments, like in last year's 25-24 Chick-Fil-A Bowl win over LSU.
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