Oct 20, 2012; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Sammy Watkins (2) carries the ball while being defended by Virginia Tech Hokies free safety Detrick Bonner (8) during the third quarter of the game at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Tigers won 38-17. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
This is an impressive young prospect that I’ve been looking forward to evaluating. Doesn’t have size that will blow you away by any means, but he’s a solid 6’1″ 205 pound receiver who can work underneath, in the return game, out of the backfield, and deep down the field. He looks like a seasoned young player already in some of his route running. Catches the ball away from his frame and does a great job turning upfield after the catch. So quick in the open field and has great breakaway speed. Battled some injury issues in 2012, causing his numbers to take a huge dip after a freshman season where he took college football by storm, catching 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. I think after a tough sophomore slump, this dynamic playmaker will show great development as a junior. He is now undeniably the top target of Tajh Boyd in the passing game with DeAndre Hopkins off to the NFL, and if he can come out healthy, he has a chance to be a top 15 selection or better in the 2014 NFL Draft. This is a strong receiver who does a good job tracking the ball and making plays in the red zone. I am really excited about his future in the NFL. With some seasoning, he could wind up being one of the best receivers in the game five or six years down the road.
Career Highlights (via Clemson athletics site)
Rising sophomore who burst onto the national stage as one of the top wideouts in the nation…has already set several school records…has been used as a primary receiver, ball carrier, and kick returner…his 826 career kickoff returns yards are ninth-most in school history.
2011: National freshman-of-the-year by Columbus (OH) Touchdown Club, Rivals.com, and Sporting News…national offensive freshman-of-the-year by CollegeFootballNews.com…first-team All-American by Pro Football Weekly and Rivals.com; he became Clemson’s first freshman to be named a first-team All-American…first-team All-American (all-purpose) by AP and FoxSports.com; he became the first freshman in ACC history to be an AP First-Team All-American; he became just the third Red-shirt freshman in NCAA history to earn AP First-Team All-America honors, joining Herschel Walker (1980) of Georgia and Adrian Peterson (2004) of Oklahoma…first-team All-American (kickoff returner) by SI.com…second-team All-American by Phil Steele…honorable mention All-American by SI.com…ACC Rookie-of-the-Year…ACC freshman-of-the-year by CBSSports.com…first-team freshman All-American by CBSSports.com, CollegeFootballNews.com, Football Writers Association, Phil Steele, Rivals.com, and Sporting News…first-team freshman All-American (return specialist) by Phil Steele…one of 15 semifinalists for the Walter Camp Player-of-the-Year Award; he was the only freshman or sophomore among the semifinalists…one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award…added to the Maxwell Award Watch List in October…one of 20 players on the College Performance Awards National Freshman Performer-of-the-Year Trophy Watch List…Banks McFadden Award (Offense) winner by the Greenville Touchdown Club…First-Team All-ACC selection as a wide receiver and Second-Team All-ACC selection as a specialist; he became the first Tiger freshman to earn First-Team All-ACC honors since 1995 (Anthony Simmons) and the first-ever Tiger freshman wide receiver to earn First-Team All-ACC honors…first-team All-ACC by CBSSports.com, ESPN.com, and Phil Steele…first-team All-ACC (kickoff returner) by Phil Steele…had 82 receptions for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns, 231 yards on 32 carries, and 33 kickoff returns for 826 yards and one touchdown for 2,288 all-purpose yards in 656 snaps over 13 games (10 starts)