Freshman Sensation or Sophomore Slump?

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Freshman Sensation or Sophomore Slump?

Some experts are expecting Clemson to produce major results on the field again this season. I see this happening because several of the key pieces are once again in place.

In my opinion, if the Tigers want to take the next step then Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Jr. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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needs to become the major threat he was as a freshman.

In that freshman campaign, Watkins had 82 receptions. Last year he had 57.

As a freshman, Watkins had 1,219 yards receiving. As a sophomore he had 708 receiving yards.

In 2012 he had 12 receiving touchdowns and 13 overall. In 2013 Watkins caught only three touchdowns and had four total.

He went from 32 carries for 231 yards as a freshman down to 14 carries for 97 yards as a sophomore.

In 2012 Watkins missed only one game. Last year he missed three games, and all but the first play of the LSU bowl game.

Sammy Watkins went from being one of the nation's most exciting and talked about players to being the second leading receiver on his own team.

Let's not forget, as a freshman Watkins had five games where he had over 100 yards receiving. Last year he had two. He had seven games where he caught at least seven passes as a freshman. Last year he recorded two games where he caught seven or more passes.

A major reason Clemson won 21 games over the past two seasons is they have had big play makers as well as great complimentary players. Watkins was a huge threat as a freshman but he had great support when Nuk Hopkins had 72 catches for 978 yards.

With Watkins suspended for the first two games of the season, Hopkins responded and became the number one threat and was good in his supporting role.

If Watkins wants to reach his full potential this year, the Tigers needs Charone PeakeCharone Peake
Jr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 200
Moore, SC

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, Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
Jr. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 200
Calhoun Falls, SC

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, Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
Jr. Wide Receiver
#13 5-11, 190
Spartanburg, SC

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or Germone HopperGermone Hopper
RS Fr. Wide Receiver
#5 6-0, 175
Charlotte, NC

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to step up and be the number two threat.

As a sophomore Watkins experienced a lot of adversity. He was suspended for the first two games and never seemed to recover. Defenses keyed on him a year ago. He got sick and missed the Boston College game and then missed the bowl game after the first play. He just never really had any momentum.

My guess is Watkins is ready to step back into the college football limelight again. I don't think we should be too surprised that Watkins, like many freshman stars of the past, suffered a sophomore slump.

Maybe it is a great compliment when a guy can miss four games, catch 57 passes for 708, and call it a sophomore slump.

Sometimes wide outs have down years after the quarterback graduates and quite often, the next quarterback does not have the ability or chemistry. This is not the case for Boyd and Watkins in 2013.

I believe Watkins is ready to make his run towards becoming a high pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. It seems he is physically ready and Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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has every intention on using Watkins as the primary target in what should be a dynamic offense. I am encouraged because Morris seems to be innovative in ways to feature a wide out despite the defenses knowing they want to get the ball to him.

My guess is, Watkins was humbled a bit about one year ago and his work ethic has been intensified as a result.

He will have one of the nation's top quarterbacks delivering the ball to him. We also know that most of the offensive line returns to give Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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time to get the ball to Watkins.

So as we head into the summer months, my money is on Watkins heading back into that phone booth and once again emerging with a red cape on his back. I trust his fitness and condition. I trust his quarterback. I trust his offensive coordinator. But most importantly I trust his ability.

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Defensive Tackle
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Thomasville, GA

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