Watkins wanted to keep commitment a secret

by - Senior Writer -

South Fort Myers receiver Sammy Watkins told recruiter Jeff Scott last week that he wanted to be a Clemson Tiger, but wanted the news to be kept a secret until he could call head coach Dabo Swinney on Monday morning.

Scout.com rates Watkins as the No.2 wide receiver in the country and will be a nice addition to an already-strong 2011 recruiting class for the Tigers.

“I made the decision last week, but I wanted it to be a surprise when I told Dabo,” Watkins told TigerNet Monday evening. “I told Jeff Scott last week, but I called Dabo Swinney today and told him. He was very excited and very surprised and happy. It was great.”

Watkins picked the Tigers over Alabama, Florida, Miami, Michigan and North Carolina, and said that he is confident that Clemson is the right place for him.

“It’s a great town, great surroundings, great coaches and great people,” Watkins said. “I know I can go there and play for four years and make an impact. As a freshman, I just want to get my feet wet and then as a sophomore I can be the man.”

Watkins said he has been able to spend time with Tajh Boyd – likely Clemson’s starting quarterback next season – and can't wait to start working with him.

“When I was up there, we chilled and drove around a little bit,” Watkins said. “I will be happy to get to practice with him, and for him to be my quarterback. I am looking forward to it and I’m proud to be working with him.”

He was asked if he could compare himself to any current receivers, and he said no.

“I don’t know if there is anyone I can say that I play like,” he said. “There aren’t that many guys out there that are 6-foot-2 and run a 4.3 [40-yard dash]. I don’t worry about other receivers, though. I just do me.”

Watkins joins a class that includes Charone Peake, Marlin Lane and Mike Bellamy, along with a signee from last season in Martavis Bryant. Joe Craig, D.J. Howard, Demont Buice and Vic Beasley were red-shirted this season, and they will join Andre Ellington, Jamie Harper, Nuke Hopkins, Dwayne Allen and Jaron Brown to form a formidable rotation of playmakers in 2011.

“I think we are going to have a lot of talented guys up there next season,” Watkins said. “But it wasn’t the guys that made me decide to go there. I just felt like it was the school for me. It’s just the best place for me. I know we will have some home run hitters, and I want to get out there on the field and play. But I want to get my education first and just enjoy being a Clemson Tiger.”

Swinney is a former wide receivers coach, and Watkins said that having a head coach who understands his position also meant a lot.

“We haven’t talked a whole lot since the season started, but we have a lot of connections,” he said.

“When I was up there for camp, he told me what I was doing right, and he would tell me if I had run a good route or had good explosion. He can relate to the receivers because he has coached and played the position.”

Related story: Sammy Watkins commits to the Tigers

2011 Football Commitments

1. Shaq Anthony		OL  6-5  260 Piedmont, SC (Wren HS)
2. Isaiah Battle 	OL  6-7  260 St George, Virginia (Blue Ridge HS)
3. Mike Bellamy		RB  5-10 180 Punta Gorda, FL (Charlotte HS)
4. Martavis Bryant	WR  6-3  195 Hargrave Military Academy
5. Corey Crawford	DE  6-5  275 Hargrave Military Academy
6. Cortez Davis		DB  6-3  200 Daytona Beach, FL (Mainland HS)
7. Kevin Dodd		DL  6-5  270 Greer, SC (Riverside HS)
8. B.J. Goodson		LB  6-1  215 Lamar, SC (Lamar HS)
9. Joe Gore		DE  6-6  262 Lake Waccamaw, NC (East Columbus HS)
10. Adam Humphries	WR  5-11 176 Roebuck, SC (Dorman HS)
11. Grady Jarrett	DL  6-1  280 Conyers, GA (Rockdale County HS)
12. Marlin Lane		RB  6-1  190 Daytona Beach, FL (Mainland HS)
13. Eric MacLain	TE  6-5  245 Fayetteville, NC Jack (Britt HS)
14. Jerome Maybank	DT  6-4  310 Pawley's Island (Waccamaw HS)
15. Tony McNeal    	QB  6-1  180 Chester, SC (Chester, HS)
16. Ryan Norton		OL  6-4  275 Mauldin, SC (Mauldin HS)
17. Charone Peake	WR  6-3  200 Spartanburg, SC (Dorman HS)
18. Robert Smith  	ATH 6-0  180 Ft Dorchester, SC (Woodland HS)
19. Stanton Seckinger   WR  6-5  200 Charleston, SC (Porter-Gaud HS) 
20. Cole Stoudt	        QB  6-3  195 Dublin, OH (Dublin Coffman HS)
21. Colton Walls     	LB  6-2  230 Charlotte, NC (Latin HS)
22. Sammy Watkins     	WR  6-0  200 Fort Myers, FL (South Fort Myers HS)
23. DeShawn Williams	DT  6-0  280 Central, SC (Daniel HS)

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