Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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

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.


"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 Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Dabo Swinney: Tampa Bay product Deon Cain 'one of the best receivers in the country' 07/14/17 [Last modified: Friday, July 14, 2017 6:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida Gators' 2018 recruiting class cracks top 10


    While I was out on vacation, the Florida Gators apparently picked up their recruiting.

    By a lot.

  2. Five undrafted rookies to watch in Bucs training camp


    Rookies report today for Bucs training camp, with veterans joining in Thursday and the first practice Friday morning, and with HBO's "Hard Knocks" chronicling this year's camp, there's always an interest in the underdog storyline of undrafted rookies trying to make the 53-man roster.

    Bucs linebacker Richie Brown, an undrafted rookie trying to make Tampa Bay's roster this preseason, is shown during last year's St. Petersburg Bowl after he recovered a fumble for Mississippi State.
  3. Rays morning after: The bats have disappeared



    Center fielder Mallex Smith reacts after striking out swinging in the seventh inning.
  4. Bryan Harper's path to the majors, where his brother is a star, has been bumpy

    The Heater

    He has thrown 215 professional innings over 168 minor-league outings, and at various points the kid from Las Vegas has called Viera and Hagerstown, Md., and Harrisburg, Pa. and Syracuse, N.Y., and even Arlington, Va. home. During that summer he lived in the D.C. suburbs, he would rise some mornings with his brother in …

  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.