Tiger Insider Preview: CU Commitment Overcomes Injuries for Stellar Season
LAKE VIEW - From watching along the sidelines in 2000 to Shrine Bowl play in 2001, Lake View linebacker/running back Anthony Waters proved in his senior high school season that he has what it takes to excel on the football field.
Waters verbally committed to play at Clemson during his junior campaign, but that might have been the highlight of the season.
In 2000, five games into his junior season, Waters suffered a broken ankle.
Through just 16-plus quarters of play, he had collected 540 yards rushing, and led Lake View with a team-high 61 tackles.
He didn’t want to miss the rest of the 2000 campaign and tried to return early in playoffs.
“He really tried to play the first playoff game we had, but he couldn’t go,” Lake View head coach Jewell McLaurin said. “It was tough watching him almost on one leg trying to hobble and play, but a few weeks later he got back to normal. He just wanted to play, injury or not.”
Playing injured didn’t work out.
But returning from the injury for his senior year did show what Waters can provide a team.
Anthony Waters made 145 tackles, including 15 for lost yardage this season.|
After averaging a double-double performance (15 points and 11 rebounds per game) in his junior basketball season, the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder had a stellar senior football campaign.
At running back, he rushed for 1,320 yards and 21 touchdowns, leading his Wild Gators team into the third round of Class A playoffs.
From his linebacker slot, Waters made 145 tackles, including 15 for lost yardage.
His play earned him a spot on the 2001 Shrine Bowl team. Although he’s the eighth Lake View player to make the most respected football all-star game in the Carolinas, Waters is considered by many to be the most explosive player
in school history.
“This season I really didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself, I just do things to the best of my ability,” Waters said. “I was lifting weights my sophomore year and that was when I really started to put more time into preparing for football.
“Anybody can come through an injury if they just keep their head on right. I’ve been through that. It takes dedication to the game to keep you focused on improving enough to come back strong.”
As for the Shrine Bowl, Waters planned for it like any other game - a chance to prove himself and his abilities.
“All I know is that I have to outwork everybody on every play,” Waters said. “I just want to show everybody who Anthony Waters is and what he can do.
“I want Clemson and every other school to see what I can do.” That’s the attitude that McLaurin knew was a key for the captain of his Wild Gators squad, especially during the 2001 season.
“He’s our leader, and he won’t let the players on our team get down when we’re behind,” McLaurin said. “With his talent, we have to put him at running back, wide receiver, linebacker, and even defensive back most every game.
“He’s got about six or seven positions he can play and make a difference from. He’s worked hard in the weight room since before his junior season, he’s gotten a lot stronger, and it was all for that potential to get a college scholarship.”
McLaurin says that most college coaches have projected Waters as an outside linebacker on the next level. But his versatility leaves the possibility open that he could play on either side of the ball.
“I think I can really fit in and help the defense out at Clemson,” Waters said. “I want to come out and help lead them to a championship. They are really starting to come together better now, with the offense doing what it
wants in most games and the defense stepping up.
“I want to play anywhere on defense or even at receiver. My high school career will help out, having played several positions every year.”
McLaurin agrees that playing on the Class A level with fewer teammates has helped Waters prove himself both on offense and defense.
“That probably helps out, since some Class 4A schools would specialize Anthony on one side of the ball or the other,” McLaurin said. “But he doesn’t want to come out of a game any time, except for a breather for a play or two.
“His junior year against (Class 3A) Dillon, he proved he was a college prospect. He was running over a few of their guys and that was one of the best defenses around.”
Waters admits to receiving letters from various schools each week, schools wanting him to consider playing football for their programs. But Clemson is where Waters went to camps early in his high school career and he says it’s a place “I want to be.”
Waters admits he isn’t quite sure what he will study in the classroom at Clemson. But he wants to become an athletic trainer.
So even after adding his healthy share of play to the Tigers squad, he will be able to help others return from injuries to be productive athletes.
He’ll be speaking from experience.
Waters is definitely a football player who can take bad breaks and make them challenges and fortunate opportunities.
In the this issue of Tiger Insider, the only independent magazine devoted to Clemson Sports:
- It's been 20 years since that magical night in Miami when Clemson won the
national championship. In the current issue of Tiger Insider, we take a look at
where the years have taken us. David Harry examines where the program has been
and Dan Scott takes a look at the challenges Tommy Bowden has ahead of him. The
coaches change, but the goal remains the same - a repeat of that night in Miami
when Clemson was crowed the National Champion of college football.
- You've probably never heard of Gorgon Eckley, but his story will give anyone
that thought about walking on at Clemson second thoughts about the decision not
to take that step. For Eckley, it took perseverance, but he did survive the
likes of Hootie Ingram and Red Parker and the classes he dreaded as much as
- Holli Armstrong takes a look at the boys on the bus. For every player, the trip
to the game is different. Every player has different techniques for preparing
for the game.
- Dan Scott examines the world of the sports agent through a conversation with
super agent Leigh Steinberg.
- Profiles of Clemson commitments Cory Groover and Anthony Waters.
- A look at the relationships that Clemson has to nurture with junior colleges.
- A look at the real hazards of playing college football.
- Much, much more and great Clemson photos
Other sneak peaks at previous Tiger Insiders