By Will Vandervort
Look for Sammy Watkins to get the football a lot in 2013.
The Clemson wide receiver told reporters Tuesday night that he expects to touch the football at least 12 times a game this coming season.
“I need to touch the ball at least 12 times a game to be a focus on the defense so other players can get open,” Watkins said. “Coach (Chad Morris) does a good job finding different ways to get me involved.”
Morris plans to move Watkins around a lot more this year than he did last year. Watkins expects his role to be more like it was in his freshman year when he caught 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“I kind of lacked the moving around last year because of the way teams were covering and bracketing me, but coach has done a great job moving me around,” Watkins said.
Watkins said he is playing the slot, tailback, the boundary position and the field side in practice.
“It will be a great season for me to be prepared to move around and touch the ball a lot,” he said.
The worst kept secret in America. Playing it cool, though he and everyone else in and around Clemson has known for quite some time that ESPN’s College GameDay was coming to Clemson for the Georgia game, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney acted surprised when a reporter asked him about the news following practice.
It was officially announced by the four-letter network earlier Tuesday that College GameDay will be making its second-ever visit to Clemson, as it will broadcast live from the campus ahead of the Tigers’ season opener against Georgia on Aug. 31, which will kick off at 8 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ABC.
“Wow!” Swinney said with a sarcastic look on his face which drew a lot of laughs from the media gallery. “That’s great. Anytime you can get great exposure for your brand, for your university, it’s great. These kids deserve that.
“They have worked hard. I love to see these guys get an opportunity to be recognized for the hard work they put in. It is an honor that GameDay is coming here. This is a huge game, obviously. It’s good. It’s good exposure. Anytime you can put that paw on National Television it does not hurt.”
The Tiger Paw and the Clemson program were on display for the whole world to see all day Tuesday as ESPN broadcasted from the WestZone in Clemson Memorial Stadium as part of its College Football Summer Bus Tour. College GameDay host Chris Fowler, along with analyst Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack, where on hand as they talked to Swinney and quarterback Tajh Boyd as well as broadcasted its popular College Football Live Show, which aired on ESPNU.
“Clemson is on the rise,” Boyd said when asked about the extra exposure. “I only see it picking up steam. It is like a locomotive. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this program and see it grow from the ground up. To be a part of the foundation that Coach Swinney built and be a part of his first class to help do some of those things, it has been an honor and a blessing.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds.”
Injury report. Swinney says freshman receiver T.J. Green hyper extended his knee in practice Tuesday and will probably miss practice tomorrow, which is the first day of pads this summer for the Tigers.
He doesn’t expect to get wide receiver Adam Humphries (hamstring), defensive back Mackensie Alexander (groin) or wide receiver Mike Williams (groin) back on Wednesday, either. However, Swinney did not seem overly concerned about anyone’s long term health.