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Clemson Football

Explosive Potential: Clemson's Beaux Collins Reflects on Injury, QB Shift, and the Future

August 9, 2023

On Monday afternoon, Clemson receiver Beaux Collins was asked about being injured last season. Reflecting on his shoulder injury, Collins remarked that the experience fueled his determination.

For the first time in his career, Collins had to watch from the sidelines, emphasizing that witnessing the game's continuation in his absence ignited a strong motivation within him. It marked his first major injury and led to him missing four games, which gave him a new perspective.

'’I'd say it was hard to watch, but I was just excited for my guys," Collins noted after Monday’s practice. 

Collins, who led the team with 290 yards and five touchdowns through the first six games, viewed this setback as a substantial learning opportunity and expressed gratitude for the growth the injury brought him.

'’No matter what the outcome was. There were some down moments. I'd say, in the offseason, when the rehab got a little annoying, doing the same thing over and over. It was a little rough. I tried to do things like just picking up a book to get my mental right. I tried as hard as possible not to go off the deep end."

The junior from Los Angeles, CA saw his former St. John Bosco High School quarterback and friend, D.J. Uiagalelei, transfer to Oregon State. Additionally, the veteran wideout is facing a transition from former offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter (Georgia) to first-year offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. 

Collins said they are continuing to install Riley's air raid offense, and thus far, it's exciting, fun, and fast. He noted that the transition to quarterback Cade Klubnik is also going well.

"We've worked out a lot this summer. In off hours, we've been here [until] 7:45 pm. He's taking the next step for sure for this team," noted Collins of his time spent with Klubnik during the offseason. 

© Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik (2) passes during the first practice at Clemson, S.C., on Friday, August 4, 2023.

Due to his injury, Collins did not play in both the ACC Championship game in Charlotte, where Klubnik was named MVP, and the Orange Bowl, which was the sophomore signal caller's only start. Despite being also a limited participant in the spring, Collins recognizes something special in the young QB.

“He wants it bad. Not just for himself," added Collins. "He wants it for all of us. So, I have no choice but to tip my hat to him. He's a hard worker. I love hard workers. He's a go-getter. So, we're meshing pretty well.”

Collins averaged 17 yards per reception in 2022 and his longest reception extended 59 yards. Cole Turner and Klubnik hooked up on the longest passing play of the season, a 68-yard connection against North Carolina in the ACC Championship game. Turner would go on to record the Tigers' only 100-yard receiving game with 101 yards on three receptions that night.

With Riley controlling the offense, fans hope to see more downfield opportunities and overall more explosive plays, and the freshman like Noble Johnson, “Tink” Kelley, Tyler Brown, and Ronan Hanafin could have an early impact

"There are some dudes in this freshman class for sure," Collins noted. "I was surprised seeing Tyler Brown and Tink step on campus. They're just guys that have things that you can't teach. They're fast. They're eager to learn. These guys aren't nervous to ask questions. They want to be on the field. I just haven't seen a group like them. They're special."

Mix in Collins, Turner, former freshman All-American Antonio Williams, and a healthy season for Adam Randall, and the Tigers' offense could score quicker and find the endzone more frequently. 

© Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
Tyler Brown (6) and Misun "Tink" Kelley (27)  practicing for the first at Clemson, S.C. Friday, August 4, 2023.

Since the offensive numbers have declined the past two seasons, each spring and fall, WR coach Tyler Grisham and the wideouts are often reminded of the guys from the past like Sammy Watkins, Nuk Hopkins, Mike Williams, and others, through questions from media outlets. Collins noted that the WRU prestige is not lost on him.

"I know that there are guys that came before me, that were hungry, big, strong, and fast," Collins replied when asked if the new offense brings on additional pressure of mimicking past results.

"We just have to embrace it. Don't run from it. Honestly, I know what I stepped into coming here. It's kind of what I signed up for when I came here. Just got to accept the challenge and go forward from there."

Even if Collins and company cannot reach the same numbers that the wideout units before them put up, he feels like there is a ton of potential in this new group in Riley’s scheme.

"I definitely feel like it has the most potential by far," he said. "Just the energy that the guys have. The guys are willing to go to work. It just feels different. I know it's kind of cliche to say but there's a different feeling in this group, for sure."

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