Dabo's message to Carlos Watkins: "Be ready to play"

by - Senior Writer -

Clemson commitment Carlos Watkins Carlos Watkins
Defensive Line
6-4, 285
Forest City, NC

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met new defensive coordinator Brent Venables when Venables was in town interviewing for the position, and again last week when Watkins made the trip to Clemson for an unofficial visit.

As a result, Thursday’s visit with Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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, defensive line coach Dan Brooks and Venables was more about Venables getting to meet Watkins’ family and high school head coach at Chase (Forest City, NC) High, Dan Bailey.

The Clemson coaches arrived in Forest City shortly after lunch on Thursday, and wrapped a meet-and-greet session around a meal.

“Everybody just got to know everybody else,” Watkins said of the visit. “It was basically just him [Venables] talking with the family, and them getting to know him. We went and ate, and they all got to know Coach Venables.”

Watkins said the message from the Clemson coaches was pretty simple – be ready to play.

“Yes. That’s my goal. Get myself ready for when I get there,” Watkins said. “They plan on me starting, but it’s all about how I come in. I know I still have to work hard when I get there. They told me to just work hard, and once and I get down there they’ll give me the playbook. Once I get that, I’ll be good.”

Venables told Watkins he had already seen film on the tackle.

“It went great. He’s a real cool guy,” Watkins said. “We talked about defensive schemes. He told me I won't be behind too much, because I will be learning just like they’re [returning players] learning. He said he watched film on me, and he liked it and wants to get me down there.”

Clemson and former defensive coordinator Kevin SteeleKevin Steele
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
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parted ways two weeks ago, but Watkins said he never wavered on his decision.

“If Coach Brooks would’ve left, then I probably would’ve left,” Watkins said. “Coach Steele leaving didn’t really have a big impact.”

Bailey said he was also impressed after meeting Venables.

“He’s a great, energetic guy,” Bailey said. “He seems to be excited, and he’s excited about having Carlos there. Carlos is excited about him. I think that will be a good relationship. I know they will take good care of him. I just told coach [Swinney] that. You hate to see them leave, as a high school coach. But Coach Swinney has established a staff at Clemson that people know will take care of the players.”

Watkins said he also can't wait to get back to Clemson, this time to stay.

“I knew it was for me when I first down there,” he said. “I just fell in love with the campus and the environment. You just feel like you’re at home when you’re down there.

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