Photo via Clemson Athletic Department TigerNet.com
Rookie Spotlight: Tee Higgins, Clemson University
Height: 6’3 5/8″
Hands: 9 1/4″
Arm: 32 1/4″
40 yard dash: around 4.5 (pro day)
NFL Comparison: Corey Davis, Mike Williams, Keenan Allen
– wide catch radius and prototypical outside WR size
– excellent hands
– tracks the ball well
– fluid (if somewhat unpolished) route runner
– top-notch body control
– great leaping ability
– broke out at very young age
– could be more physical for his size
– lacks top end speed and explosiveness
2019 Team Market Share Numbers:
31% receiving yards
37% receiving TDs
Scouting Notes: Tee Higgins is a very well-rounded player. He’d be in contention as the top receiver in the draft if he was faster. As is, he’s probably in the Top 5. Higgins can go get the ball over pretty much anyone – he’s been a lifelong basketball player and possesses impressive leaping ability, and his body control is really uncanny – and not just “for someone his size” — he is extremely fluid and smooth in a way that can make extremely athletic feats look effortless. Per PFF, Higgins hauled in a near-otherwordly 15 of 23 deep targets during Clemson’s 2019 campaign which is a testament not only to his ball skills but also his ability to consistently find himself in advantageous spots over the defense.
Higgins excels at the sideline catch, and he’s the definition of a hands receiver – rarely letting the ball into his body. He’s the kind of receiver who makes the QB’s job easier, finding the soft spots in coverage and exploiting them when the route breaks down even though he isn’t necessarily a virtuoso of the entire route tree at this stage in his development (which will certainly continue as he’s one of the younger WRs in the class having only turned 21 on January 18th of 2020). Higgins isn’t very explosive or powerful as a runner, but he does an excellent job of turning upfield and accelerating quickly to beat his defender once the ball is in hands — he broke 12 tackles on 59 receptions in 2019. As a blocker, he’s been largely absent – he was rarely called to be one at Clemson, but he has the build for it, so he should be able to improve in that category.
Fantasy Outlook: Speed kills in the NFL these days, and Higgins is going to have to put up a low 4.5 forty to boost himself to one of the top WR spots in the draft. I’m not sure he will do that, and I think that’s generally the major issue for NFL scouts concerning the guy. Higgins can beat you a lot of other ways though, and that’s been evident throughout his highschool and college careers. He’s been seen by many as a possession receiver at the next level, but he was 9th in the country in yards per reception(20.8), so I think he’s more than that. If he can continue to find separation from defenders despite his lack of speed, he’ll be a lock-solid fantasy contributor on a regular basis. His ability to track back-shoulder fades and come down with contested catches makes him a prime red-zone target too. He’ll be one of my most coveted dynasty targets this fall.
2019: First-team All-ACC selection … recorded 59 catches for a team-high 1,167 yards (fifth-most in a season in school history) and 13 receiving touchdowns in 550 snaps over 15 games (all starts) … caught a 62-yard touchdown in the midst of posting a team-high four receptions for 98 yards vs. Georgia Tech, pushing his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to five … posted four receptions for 70 yards vs. No. 12 Texas A&M … gained 150 yards on seven receptions — all in the first half — at Syracuse, posting the most receiving yards in a half by a Clemson player since Sammy Watkins’ school record 177-yard first-half against Wake Forest in 2012 … recorded a 58-yard touchdown catch vs. Charlotte, moving into the Top 10 in school history in career touchdown receptions … earned ACC Receiver of the Week and team offensive player of the week honors after posting game highs with six receptions and 129 yards, including the game-winning 38-yard touchdown reception, at North Carolina … reached 100 career receptions with two catches for 44 yards against Florida State … caught a three-yard pass at Louisville … gained 36 yards on two receptions vs. Boston College … posted a team-high five receptions for 74 yards with a touchdown vs. Wofford … recorded four receptions for 73 yards including a 33-yard touchdown at NC State … shared team offensive player of the game honors vs. Wake Forest after tying the school record with three touchdown receptions among his four catches for 64 yards … passed Mike Williams for third on Clemson’s career receiving touchdowns leaderboard with that career-high performance against the Demon Deacons … caught three passes for 101 yards with two touchdowns in sharing team offensive player of the game honors at South Carolina, becoming the first Clemson player with multiple touchdown receptions in consecutive games since 2016 … named Most Valuable Player of the ACC Championship Game vs. No. 22 Virginia after catching nine passes to post ACC Championship Game records with 182 yards and a school-record-tying three touchdown receptions, sharing team offensive player of the game honors … his third touchdown reception against Virginia tied not only the single-game school record of three, but also represented his 27th career touchdown reception to tie DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins’ career record at Clemson … in that contest against Virginia, he became the first player in Clemson history to catch multiple touchdowns in three consecutive games … gained 33 yards on four receptions in Fiesta Bowl against No. 2 Ohio State despite missing most of the first half for an injury evaluation … gained 52 yards on three catches and scored a 36-yard touchdown on his lone rushing attempt of his career vs. No. 1 LSU.