Clemson senior Xavier Dye is the leading returning receiver with 14 receptions for 236 yards and three touchdowns, and he is the only returning starter at the position. He caught one touchdown pass from Kyle Parker last season, one from C.J. Spiller, and one from Jacoby Ford. The Tigers will miss Ford’s production last year, as he had 56 catches for 779 yards and six touchdowns, but he’s not the only one. Clemson graduated its top three receivers from a year ago. Who will step up? Dye is hoping he can. Here are the highlights of our recent interview:
How have the receivers developed and where have you seen the most progress this summer?
Xavier Dye: I think the main thing is the guys have bought into learning the minor details. They’ve done good this whole camp. I’ve been pleased with how we’ve competed against each other. It’s made us better and going against our defense has made us better. Now we have to go out and execute and do the things we’re capable of doing.
It seems like Dabo and reporters like myself have questioned the consistency of your group. Has that been a legitimate concern, and do you think you guys have answered that this summer?
XD: Yeah, I think we’ve pretty much answered that. We’ve done a great job of it, the whole camp. We’ve had very few days that he’s come out and said anything to us. Maybe two days out of the 25 or 30 we’ve been out there that we hadn’t done our jobs the best we can. We’re going to have some days like that, but it’s better to have more good days than bad, and we’ve done a really good job of going out and producing every day.
Do you think what went on with you last year, taking that break from the team, can you look back on that as something you grew from? Maybe you needed that break.
XD: I think it really helped me out a lot, and I’m sure the coaches would probably say the same thing, that he really needed that wake-up call to get him to the point where he is now. That’s what really had happened, because at this time last year, I was being lackadaisical, really nonchalant about the whole thing. Now I’m at a different level. The young guys are actually following my lead. We’ve been going out having great practices. They look at me and if my energy level is down, they’re going to be that way, too. With me being a senior and the leading receiver coming back, they look to me because I’ve been there.
So what are your personal goals for this season? Are there specific numbers?
XD: There are numbers, but the main thing is for us to win and go out, compete and do what it’s going to take for us to win ball games. I’ll keep my personal goals to myself. I have them written down.
How important was it for you, and what was your reaction when Kyle (Parker) said he was coming back, being on the receiving end of that decision?
XD: It was a relief, this being my senior year. You don’t really want to start over with another quarterback. Tajh is going to be a good quarterback one day, but having Kyle come back with the experience he’s had, it’s a big help to us. He knows the offense just like we know it. That’s easier on us and some of the younger wideouts, because if you’ve got a young quarterback, and he’s learning, you can’t really ask him a question about what’s going on. You can screw with the whole play. Now we don’t have to start over, you can just build from last year.
Aside from yourself, who are the receivers who are going to be the go-to guys this year?
XD: Well we really don’t know, but we all will be considered. Hopefully I’m the guy who’s the go-to guy, but all of the other guys are working just as hard. We’ve all competed well. That’s a good thing, having depth at receiver.