CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 24: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tiger celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Lets face it, Sammy Watkins isn't going to be ranked amongst the Top 5 Heisman contenders coming into the 2012 season, but within 2 years I think he has the best chance of any Tiger to pick up that 25lb trophy.
Think about his Freshman statistics: 77 receptions, 1,153 yards and 12 total TDs. He had 6 within the first month of the year against some tough opponents and put himself in the national spotlight as a possible dark horse candidate, as did Tajh Boyd. Sammy ripped Auburn a new one, pulling in 10 receptions for 155 yards and 2 TDs, giving their secondary a beating from which they did not recover all season. He added 44 yards rushing on top of that. The next week, he and the rest of the Clemson offense destroyed the vaunted Seminole defense with 7 catches for 141 yards and 2 more TDs.
Virginia Tech played him well the first time, putting their best CB Jayron Hosley over him and jamming all our underneath routes and flooding the underneath zones with defenders. Still, if it had not been cold and wet, he may have lit them up. He bounced back in the ACCCG drubbing with 5 catches for 80 yards and a TD.
The only thing that hindered Sammy in his first year was a shoulder injury that caused him to sit more often in the second half of the year, totally missing the NC State debacle. The shoulder caused him to not be able to generate the same separation against jamming in several games toward the end of the year.
But its not particularly easy for a WR to get the Heisman. The offense doesn't revolve around them in the same way it does a QB or RB, and the TV is not on a WR in every play. Most WRs who win it also return kicks, and its the all-purpose yardage figure that piles up much easier than the receiving yardage. That was the case with the only two WRs to ever win the Heisman, Tim Brown (1987) and Desmond Howard (1991). Watkins did have a return TD last season, but apparently wasn't trusted enough to be given the additional duties full-time.
I expect that to change, but it does entail a bit of risk for Clemson. We saw how non-funcTtional the offense was in the NC State debacle and Amerson shut off one side of the field. We could barely do anything when Sammy wasn't a threat to stretch the defense, because guys like Peake and Bryant were not ready. What if they still aren't and we get Sammy injured? Thats the question our coaches will be answering when you see who they put at KR/PR this season, because with Mike Bellamy gone theres no one with the moves and speed to take it to the house every time he catches it.
Do you think he has the best shot on this team, or do you think another will?
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