Time to start handing out this year’s TCI Awards for 2011. We start with the TCI Rookie of the Year Award and this year’s winner is of course Sammy Watkins.
The Clemson staff knew they had a great receiver class coming in over the summer, but it took only two days of practice to realize that Sammy was a program changing playmaker. Sammy quickly moved into the starting lineup and gave Tajh Boyd a weapon as good as any in the country.
No receiver in Clemson history did what Sammy Watkins was able to do in only his first year as a Tiger. Sammy caught 77 passes for 1153 yards and eleven touchdowns. The freshman sensation also carried the ball 31 times for 241 yards. Sammy also quickly became a weapon on kickoffs as he returned 26 kickoffs for 683 yards and one touchdown.
Imagine what the numbers would have been if Sammy didn’t suffer a injury late in the season. Watkins missed the NC State game and wasn’t close to 100 percent when the Tigers lost at South Carolina.
By midseason Sammy was already getting discussed among the Heisman candidates. The All-American quickly became one of the top receivers in the nation, not just one of the top freshmen. In an interview last week Sammy let the media know that he has high goals for 2012, a Heisman trophy.
Honorable mention candidates for the TCI Rookie of the Year included Stephone Anthony, Martavis Bryant and Mike Bellamy.