The Clemson Insider checked back in with the cousin of a Clemson legend.
Just like his cousin before him, Winston Watkins, Jr. is making a name for himself down in Florida. Though he’s just a freshman in the Class of 2025, Watkins is already playing for IMG Academy’s (Bradenton, Fla.) National Team.
Sammy Watkins’ season with the Baltimore Ravens is currently underway, but that hasn’t stopped him from giving some motivational advice to his younger cousin.
“He’s been telling me to stay focused, stay dedicated and keep getting good grades because if I don’t get good grades, I won’t be able to make it anywhere,” Watkins told TCI. “It’s hard work. You got to have hard work to make it. Some people don’t work at all that have a lot of talent…if you work hard, you can get anything you want in life.”
And Sammy would know.
Though he hasn’t heard from them since he camped at the Dabo Swinney Camp, Watkins understands the slow-played approach that Clemson takes to recruiting. He’s also been able to see it through the lens of his roommate and close friend, Carnell Tate, who is being recruited by Clemson and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham.
First off, there are not many freshmen who can say they’re playing at the level Watkins is.
“It’s been pretty good,” he said. “I’m glad to be able to play with all these great players. It’s a blessing, honestly. A lot of kids can’t be in the position I’m in and do what I do. I feel like I’m at the best level of any high school level you can play on.
Before he arrived at IMG, Watkins received offers from Texas A&M, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Central Michigan. He picked up an offer from the University of Florida and has spoken with Penn State after he arrived in Bradenton.
While Watkins has some impressive Division I offers himself, he gets to play with some of the best players in the country every single day.
“Every day I’m going up against the best of the best,” Watkins said. “If I don’t have a dog fight with them, I ain’t getting better. Every day I get better with them.”
Iron sharpens iron.
“They teach me things that I don’t even really know, just from being a more mature, older person in life,” he said when asked what he’s learned from his teammates. “They teach me some things about the game, real life, all that, especially my roommate, Carnell. He teaches me a lot.”
As mentioned above, Tate’s recruitment has allowed Watkins to take a step back and learn from the 2023 four-star receiver, but also compete with him.
“It’s kind of like an inspiration for me because I look up to him,” Watkins said. “He does great things on the field and off the field. His grades look great. He’s like a great role model for me. He’s just shown me the right way to go.”