If it at first you don’t succeed, you have to try again with a top talent like Sammy Watkins.
For a second consecutive year, the Clemson star receiver was named preseason first team All-America by Phil Steele.
The junior enters 2013 as the ACC’s active leader in receiving yards (1,927) and third-best nationally in yards per game (83.8), averaging 13.9 yards per catch.
Despite almost missing a third of last season, Watkins averaged 78.6 yards a game in contests with a catch, coming off a record-setting freshman campaign where he racked up 2,228 all-purpose yards.
In 2011, the South Fort Myers product set multiple school records, hauling in 1,219 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 82 catches.
Clemson senior kicker Chandler Catanzaro was also named fourth-team. The Greenville native has made second-team All-ACC back-to-back seasons.
The three-year starter connected on 18-of-19 field goal attempts last season and 22-of-27 the year before (87 percent made combined) with a career-long of 50 yards.
In the national picture however, the Tigers may not be Phil Steele’s ACC favorite.
Clemson came in at No. 15 in the publication’s top-40 countdown today, which ranks ahead of LSU (17), Miami (25) and UNC (40), but not in that list yet is Florida State, who Steele projected to the national title game last year.
A few notes and quotes from their preview…
*On Clemson’s BCS chances: “CU finished #11 and returns QB Boyd and WR Watkins. This looks like Swinney's best team yet but they draw Georgia and SC out of the SEC and also face Florida State at home. Even with the tough schedule, I'll still call the Tigers a Darkhorse National Title contender.”
* In the quarterbacks section: “Boyd broke Woodrow Danzler's record (68) for career touchdowns responsible for. Boyd entered the Heisman race and snapped the sophomore jinx with 3,896 (67.2%, 36-13, #2 rusher, 514) becoming the first ever ACC player to have two seasons with 4,000+ yards of total offense…Boyd is already CU's #2 career passer and a legit Heisman contender.”
* O-line analysis: "They dropped to 48 career starts but after underachieving in '11, the less experienced unit opened holes for an improved 191 ypg rush (4.2) while allowing 31 sacks (6.5%). Freeman, Tyler Shatley and Brandon Thomas (1st team ACC) all at one point earned ACC OL POW honors. sophomore David Beasley was overweight in '11 but trimmed to 315 lbs and was the starting left guard. This year they lose Freeman but have 9 of their top 10 back (64 career starts) making this one of the ACC's top O-line's.”
* Last season, the Tigers went 6-0 in road/neutral games against the Vegas line, but just 3-4 at home (9-4 overall). As a home favorite, Clemson is 10-9 against the spread over the last three years, but on the road (favorite or underdog), they are 9-4. No lines (last three seasons), Dabo Swinney’s crew is 18-3 in Death Valley and 6-8 on the road.