Ladson Looking To Make An Impact In 2020
When Clemson picked up a commitment from Frank Ladson back in April of 2018, not only did the Tigers gain an elite wide receiver prospect, but they also got one of the best overall high school prospects in the country. Going into his second season, Ladson is ready to prove that.
After having the unfortunate luck of having to miss time in camp as a freshman due to injury, Ladson had to play a little catch-up during the 2019 season. However, now that he has an entire year in the system under his belt, he feels like he was better prepared coming into spring practice.
"I mean, last spring I came in as a freshman," Ladson said. "I didn't know any of the playbook or anything like that. This year I kind of went through a spring, a season, and everything. So you know, I'm a lot more familiar with the playbook. And I can play more than one position after this spring."
With play making wide receiver Tee Higgins now off to the NFL, Ladson is ready to put his best foot forward. He is fully aware that the team needs its younger wideouts to step up, and was looking to make the most of his opportunities during the shortened spring.
"Spring practice has been really good," Ladson said. "A lot better than last year when I came in new. Just to continue working, continue trying to get better each and every day this spring. Carrying over to the summer and then to fall camp."
The Clemson receivers have always prided themselves on their downfield blocking abilities. Ladson knows that is an area he can improve on, and says it's one of the many things he learned from Higgins.
"Really, to be a blocker, a good downfield blocker," Ladson said of Higgins. "That's one thing he was really good at. Making uncontested catches on 50/50 balls. Taking the highest point. Everybody knows he's really good at those things. So that's one thing I really learned from him last year."
The speedy wide receiver out of Miami also prides himself on being easy to coach. He not only looks for tips on how to improve from his coaches, but his teammates as well.
"I'm working on everything," Ladson said. "All the little details I need work on. I know I've been talking with coach Grisham. I know, of course, after the spring we're going to talk a little more and whatever he sees. He sees anything that I need to work on, whatever I see, whatever my teammates see. I know I'm just going to ask everybody what I need to work on the most."
Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott has also noticed a difference. He says Ladson is no longer that inexperienced freshman, and has started to realize what it takes to be successful on this level.
"I think what happened to Frank last year is like any typical freshman," Elliott said. "You get down toward the end of the season and that monkey jumps on your back and you're like, 'Oh let me just get to next season.' But now he understands what it's going take this offseason. What I notice now are the little things, like the way he walks around the building. He's got his head up and his chest out, and he'll engage more. He was really, really quiet because he was still trying to figure things out. I can just tell his confidence is building. And we're going to need that."