Clemson-Florida State features the WR/CB showdown of the week
Fresh off of a shootout with NC State, the Clemson Tigers host the Florida State Seminoles in Week 10. The undefeated Tigers look to snap a three-game losing streak to the Seminoles and keep their playoff hopes intact. This game features many pristine matchups, but none are bigger than explosive Clemson wide receiver Artavis Scott taking on versatile Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Who will come out on top in Death Valley on Saturday afternoon?
Scott burst onto the national scene last year as a true freshman with 76 catches, 965 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. The 5-11, 190-pound sophomore is Clemson’s leading receiver again in 2015, and is one of the most dynamic players in the country. Of his 514 yards receiving on the season, 366 of them have come after the catch. With the bevy of talent on Clemson’s offense, it’s easy to look at his limited targets and think he is underwhelming. Don’t be fooled: He is the eighth-ranked wide receiver in yards per route run (YPPR) with 3.17; a clear indicator of how dangerous he is.
Ramsey is a 6-1, 202-pound junior and our fifth-highest graded cornerback (+12.5). He has earned comparisons to former Seminole standout cornerback Antonio Cromartie because of his rangy build and elite athleticism. Ramsey is also a world-class long jumper that has NFL scouts drooling over his size and speed combination. He garnered first-team All-American honors in 2014, and has played every position in the secondary. Projected as a first-round NFL draft pick, Ramsey is not only a great cover corner, but a jack-of-all-trades that can rush the passer and make stops in the run game as well.
Scott wins if…
He explodes out of his breaks and gets Ramsey to bite on a double-move or two. The shifty Scott can give Ramsey trouble when running pivot routes or anything underneath that highlights his agility. Scott is a burner, but Ramsey can match his speed on deep routes, so the damage will have to come in the short passing game by forcing missed tackles.
Ramsey wins if…
He gets his hands on Scott and plays press man coverage. Ramsey is physically impressive, but has a tendency to struggle in zone coverage. He has top-notch speed and shouldn’t be concerned by getting beat deep. If he stays in Scott’s face and carry him on any change-of-direction routes, he’ll contain one of the best receivers in the ACC.
Prediction: Ramsey over Scott
Scott struggles to get consistent separation from the smothering Ramsey and quarterback DeShaun Watson is forced to look in another direction. Scott will haul in a few passes, but no touchdowns or triple-digit receiving total. Ramsey turns in a gem, but it’s not enough for Florida State to escape with a win as Clemson rides the ground game to a close victory.