By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- Sammy Watkins, a true freshman receiver out of Fort Myers, FL has been one of the main stories surrounding Clemson’s football program and their success this season. Although the Tigers suffered their first loss of the season in Week 9 against Georgia Tech, Watkins still came away from the game with over 160 yards and a touchdown. How is this highly touted freshman handling the loss?
“We came off of a big loss against a really good team,” Watkins said. “We have to focus on Wake Forest and put the loss behind us. They beat us pretty bad so we’ve got to come in this week and just prepare our hardest for the Division Title game against Wake.”
What did Watkins see out of his teammates during the Tigers’ bye week?
“I saw a lot of guys that realized that we can be beat,” Watkins said. “We have to come out and play every game, not just against Florida State and Auburn. We have to come out and play against every team instead of looking down on certain teams which I think happened at Georgia Tech. We didn’t think they’d come out and play as hard as they did but they came out fired up and making more plays than we could.”
Besides the one miscue on Tajh Boyd’s touchdown pass to Watkins which was intercepted against the Yellow Jackets, Clemson’s quarterback and number 1 receiver have always seemed to be on the same page.
“Tajh and I have been clicking all season,” Watkins said. “All of the receivers have, we just had that one mental error.”
Watkins who was able to travel back to Fort Myers last weekend during the Tigers’ off week, hoping to relax and get away from all of the hype surrounding him, found that he received even more attention and press during his weekend at home than he has all season long.
“It was a great trip, being around my family,” Watkins said. “But when I went to my high school’s game last weekend it was like being at a game in Death Valley, I was trying to get away from it but overall I had a fun time. I got to see the faculty, my coaches, teammates etc. Some of the kids at the high school game wore the “Deuce is Loose” tee shirts to the game; I had to sign a few of them.”
As for the Wake Forest game this weekend, Watkins is confident that he and his teammates will put on a show in Death Valley for the Tiger faithful.
“I think we’ll come out and play a great game,” Watkins said. “We practiced hard last week, there wasn’t any fall out because of the loss or because we were getting to go home that weekend. We had a whole week to watch this team and get up on them while they were preparing for Notre Dame. I think we’ll come out and have a good game.”
One positive thing that came from the Tigers’ loss in Atlanta according to Watkins is the fact that the team has become refocused.
“I think it made everyone realize that we have to come out and play every game,” Watkins said. “We’re not that team that can come out and roll over people. People are coming out to beat us; we’re one of the top teams, not the underdogs anymore.”
As for the several nicknames given to Watkins throughout his years playing the game, Watkins likes the “Deuce is Loose” nickname the best.
“That’s one I haven’t heard before so I kind of like that, it’s original.”
Since Watkins has come into this program and has made a name for himself quickly, many would think that the older players would give him a hard time because of it, but according to Watkins that hasn’t been the case.
“When us freshmen first got here, the team threw us in the cold tub,” Watkins said. “But I always get in the cold tub, so I didn’t mind that one bit.”