Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins is one of the elite players in the nation, and he had no problem telling the world how talented he is in comments made to Bart Wright, including bulletin board material for week one opponent Georgia.
“If we come out and beat Georgia, not just beat ‘em but beat the mess out of ‘em like we should, I don’t see no problems in getting started in the right direction. I don’t have disrespect for them or for nobody else, I just believe we can be just the kind of team we want to be, the talent is here, we know how to win.”
The Aug. 31 season opener for each team is my early game of the week, and the trash talk provided by the former All-American is sure to light a fire under Mark Richt’s team. Not that the Bulldogs needed any added motivation before their game with the top-10 team, but such self-assurance almost always backfires.
“I don’t think there’s a better receiver than me, not in the ACC, not in the nation,” he told Wright. “My goal is to break all of (DeAndre Hopkins’), records and help get this team where we want to go.
Receivers have never been known as shrinking violets. Watkins not only has prototypical measurables and skill-set for the position, but h also fits the bill with his personality and big mouth.
If I were a Clemson fan I would be excited to see the confidence back in Watkins’ approach after a miserable sophomore season that epitomized the term “sophomore slump”. But at the same time I’d be shaking my head at the flammable statement.
As a freshman the 6-1, 200-pound receiver had 82 receptions for 1,219 yards, 12 receiving touchdowns and 2,288 total yards including his work on special teams, but 2012 started with a two-game suspension for marijuana and many nagging injuries.
His numbers saw a dramatic decrease in every category and finished with 57 receptions, 708 yards and a paltry three touchdowns. Furthermore, his work on special teams didn’t have the same highlight reel as a year before and dropped from 25 yards per kick return to 19.7 as he failed to reach the end zone on any of his returns.
My best guess at the reaction from Georgia is likely a mixture of laughter and enthusiasm to get the season underway this Saturday. Without a doubt I know Todd Grantham will have his new-look Bulldog defense ready to make Watkins regret his inflammatory comments.
He’ll just have to wait until week two to get his team their first win because Georgia will win the season opener on the road in Memorial Stadium and make Watkins look foolish for opening his mouth.