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Thought: How Good Is Sammy Watkins

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 17, 2011


Cirminiello: The emergence of the amazing Clemson star

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- Cirminiello: How Good Is Sammy Watkins
- Mitchell: South Carolina's Really Bad Week
- Harrison: Do Ohio State Fans Want Fickell? 
- Sallee: SEC East. The Division No One Wants
- Johnson: Just How Good Is Washington?
- Zemek: The Rule Book Problem With Fumbles
  
By Richard Cirminiello

Just how good is Clemson WR Sammy Watkins? He makes me want to devote more time to scouring recruiting message boards between now and February.

As a point of reference, I don’t make much of an effort to learn about the next wave of blue-chip high school recruits. I figure that time is better spent getting to know the current crop of college players. Plus, why become an aficionado today on a swath of 18-year-olds, many of whom will never pan out?

Watkins is making me rethink my research strategy. It’s been a long time since a teenager has played so well so early in his career. He defies conventional wisdom, performing as if he’s been on this level for multiple years. Naturally, he hasn’t, graduating from South Fort Myers (Fla.) High School earlier this year.

Watkins delivered on Saturday night what could be argued was the best individual effort of any player so far in 2011. Of course, he had help, but almost singlehandedly preserved Clemson’s perfect season with a heroic all-around effort. The rookie scored three touchdowns during the Tigers’ second-half rally versus Maryland, and broke C.J. Spiller’s school record for all-purpose yards in a game. His second score, a beautifully-timed leaping grab drew Clemson to within three points of the Terrapins.

His final one, an 89-yard explosion through the Terps kick coverage team, gave his team a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish. It was the kind of transformational game that’s usually reserved exclusively for serious Heisman contenders.

Someone needs to check No. 2’s birth certificate because he can’t really be this young. He’s special in ways that transcend just numbers. It’s the way he plays the position, high-balling throws and running tight routes, that’s made him so difficult to contain this fall. Sure, he has great wheels, but he also has the kind of field awareness and ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls that are typically the domain of upperclassmen … the ones who vie for All-American recognition. Watkins is closing in on being a complete wide receiver, and he’s just getting started in his evolution.

Sammy Watkins is forcing me to reconsider how I approach signing day and high school recruiting. If a true freshman can be this impactful right out of the gate, I might need to set aside a few minutes each week to learning more about the next class of five-star athletes.

- Cirminiello: How Good Is Sammy Watkins
- Mitchell: South Carolina's Really Bad Week
- Harrison: Do Ohio State Fans Want Fickell? 
- Sallee: SEC East. The Division No One Wants
- Johnson: Just How Good Is Washington?
- Zemek: The Rule Book Problem With Fumbles