Sammy Watkins closing in on school-record marks for receptions, yardage

Junior needs 36 catches, 281 yards to break school career marks held by Aaron Kelly, Nuk Hopkins

Clemson's Sammy Watkins runs after a pass near Maryland's William Likely during the first quarter at Maryland.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Sammy Watkins runs after a pass near Maryland's William Likely during the first quarter at Maryland.

As he approaches what we should assume to be the home stretch of his college career, Sammy Watkins is hitting his stride as one of the game's premier receivers.

Watkins is playing better this year; though, as Dabo Swinney has repeatedly pointed out, he wasn't bad last season, when he averaged 5.7 catches and 70.1 yards, but played in just 10 games.

Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins have engaged in a good-natured, long-distance skirmish this fall, with Watkins promising to break Hopkins' one-year-old Clemson receiving records, and Hopkins - now a standout NFL rookie with the Houston Texans - egging him on.

Last Saturday, Watkins was true to his word. He caught 14 passes, breaking Hopkins' record of 13 which he reached twice last season, and tying his Clemson career record of 12 100-yard games.

Now, as he approaches the end of just his third season, he's closing in a pair of Clemson career records - one held by Aaron Kelly and the other by Hopkins.

Watkins needs 36 receptions - an average of 7.2 per game - over Clemson's next five games (four regular-season contests and a bowl game) to break Kelly's career reception record of 232.

He needs just 281 receiving yards - an average of 56.2 yards per game - to break Hopkins' record for career reception yardage. He moved past Kelly, and into second place, last week.

At this point, he's averaging 7.3 receptions and 101.6 yards per game. In ACC games, he ranks to Wake Forest's Michael Campanaro in catches.

"Sammy is having a great year," said Swinney. "He's dialed in, he's focused and he's catching the ball very well. He's hungry, and he wants that extra yard.

"I'm so proud of his leadership. He stepped up in a big way for us (against Maryland) and made some big, big plays."

Swinney said that sound pass protection allows the Tigers more opportunities to stretch the field to Watkins.

"We had some really good protection," he said, "and that allows us to get him down the field. And he did a great job on some of the screen we threw to him of getting yards after the catch. He had a hundred-plus yards after the catch.

"He's been able to develop continuity and consistency this year. And he's having a heck of a season."

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Comments » 1

DahlonegaJoe writes:

Keep working hard Sammy.....
You make it look easy...and we know its not.
Thanks for making some exciting memories for the tigers.
Keep focused and keep grabbing them out of the air and piling on the yardage. Go Tigers.

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