Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Colleges

Dabo Swinney: Tampa Bay product Deon Cain 'one of the best receivers in the country'

RECOMMENDED READING


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The obvious questions surrounding Clemson focus on the players who are no longer with the defending national champions.

QB Deshaun Watson, who led the winning drive against Alabama in last season's title game at Raymond James Stadium, is gone. LB Ben Boulware, WR Mike Williams and RB Wayne Gallman have left, too.

But Tigers coach Dabo Swinney isn't worried about the players who have left for the NFL. He'd much rather talk about the talent he has returning to a program set for another top-10 run.

"Nobody is asking me about Deon Cain yet," Swinney said of the former Tampa Bay Tech quarterback. "This is one of the best receivers in the country. He's had unbelievable moments."

And this looks like the season the 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior could turn those unbelievable moments into an unforgettable season.

ACC MEDIA DAYS: Why I'm picking FSU over Miami for the ACC championship.

Talent isn't the question. His 18.1 yards per catch rank fourth in Clemson's rich history of receivers. His 14 touchdowns have come on only 72 career catches.

But Cain has had to wait his turn, behind Williams (the No. 7 overall pick in this spring's NFL draft) and former East Lake High standout Artavis Scott, who left as Clemson's all-time leader in receptions. With both gone, Swinney said it's time for Cain and former Sickles High star Ray-Ray McCloud to break out.

"He's been there, done that …" Swinney said of Cain. "In my mind, he's a proven player."

ACC MEDIA DAYS: More milestones, fewer licks on Deondre Francois' Year 2 wish list.

Miami QB race

Miami exited the spring with no clarity on who will replace the school's all-time leading passer. The offseason hasn't done much to change the competition in who will follow Brad Kaaya.

Coach Mark Richt said he's comfortable with his top two returning veterans, redshirt junior Malik Rosier and sophomore Evan Shirreffs. He also said true freshmen Cade Weldon (Jefferson High) and N'Kosi Perry should be in the mix.

"I want to find the guy," Richt said. "I'm not ready to do that yet."

Richt said he hopes to identify a starter shortly after the second scrimmage, if not sooner.

ACC MEDIA DAYS: Heisman jinx? Louisville's Lamar Jackson isn't fazed.

Audible

"I scheduled it, so I'd better be ready for it," Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher on the mammoth Sept. 2 season opener against Alabama in Atlanta

Quick hits

While five-star early enrollee RB Cam Akers is getting national attention, Fisher continues to talk up sophomore Amir Rasul. … Another honor for the Tampa duo of Cain and McCloud: OL Tyrone Crowder said they're Clemson's two best dressers. … Swinney said junior Kelly Bryant remains the frontrunner to replace Watson as Clemson's starting quarterback. … Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said DL Kyle Cerge-Henderson (Plant High) is among the players who could emerge this fall. … Richt told Miami reporters that DL Gerald Willis, a former Gator and blue-chip recruit, is no longer enrolled at the school because of personal reasons.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: USF vs UCF is the biggest game in Florida this weekend

Rick and Tom podcast: USF vs UCF is the biggest game in Florida this weekend

It’s a Thanksgiving Football Wednesday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones preview the Bucs-Falcons game, USF-UCF, Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan and more.The guys agree on the Bucs game outcome with Rick saying they can’t win. They also agree that Tha...
Published: 11/22/17

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Published: 11/21/17

Chip Kelly is not the best candidate for Florida job

For the sake of a beleaguered and bedraggled fan base, here’s hoping Chip Kelly becomes the next head coach of the Florida Gators even though I think he’s not a great fit — culturally, geographically and philosophically — at UF.Gator Nation needs som...
Published: 11/21/17

Lane Kiffin knows speculation about his future grows with each victory

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin already knows what profession he will choose once his coaching career ends.Kiffin, in his first season at Florida Atlantic, thinks he is destined to join the sports-media ranks. It will provide him opportunity to switch roles...
Published: 11/21/17
Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

These are strange, unsettling times for the University of Florida.The Gators need themselves a football coach.They offer a terrific job. Maybe one of the best jobs in the country.Right?Uh, right? (nervous laugh)Well, we’ll soon find out. Maybe this i...
Published: 11/21/17
UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

GAINESVILLE — At last, there’s some actual smoke to the Chip Kelly-Florida rumors.The Gators sent a group — including president Kent Fuchs and athletic director Scott Stricklin — to New Hampshire on Sunday to talk with the former Oregon coach about U...
Published: 11/20/17
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Published: 11/18/17
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher longed for his team to play in this type of game throughout its disappointing season.After Hurricane Irma caused a three-week layoff between FSU’s first two games, forcing it to play 11 in a row to finis...
Published: 11/18/17
A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

GAINESVILLE — Chauncey Gardner wasn’t fooled. He saw UAB snap the ball. He saw the quarterback throw a screen. He saw the receiver fire a second pass downfield. Then a crowd of 84,649 saw the sophomore safety high-point the trick-play pass to earn hi...
Published: 11/18/17