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This Is Where Sammy Watkins’ Clemson Journey Ends

We live in such a quarterback-obsessed culture that at times we overlook the actual world-class talents in front of us.

We live in such a quarterback-obsessed culture that at times we overlook the actual world-class talents in front of us. Tajh Boyd's career accomplishments were heralded throughout the Orange Bowl pregame show and to a lesser degree, so were his failures. After all, this was an occasion to celebrate the end of a senior's career.

There were moments that made your mouth gape in awe at his ability like his first quarter 48-yard touchdown gallop. Then, there were those moments of befuddlement, like this mind-numbing interception. Who can blame him? Any time Boyd sees Watkins in the vicinity, a jumpball is enough to get the job done.

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Or the interception, which nearly set Ohio State up for a game-winning drive, when a first down would have sealed the 40-35 win.

However, Sammy Watkins has been Clemson's most talented playmaker since the moment he stepped on the field at home against Troy as a true freshman two years ago, then scored on his first career reception. If Boyd's Clemson career was a calm, serene jog on his route to setting school records, Watkins' evolution can be described as a drag race along a winding road beside a cliff.


The two receivers graded ahead of him by scouts, USC's George Farmer and Oklahoma's Trey Metoyer are anonymous on their own campuses today. After a record-setting freshman campaign Watkins entered a down period.


Watkins' sophomore slump began before the season even began last September and he was subsequently relegated to second-option behind transfer DeAndre Hopkins. Watkins' final touchdown catch will be seared into the memories of all those who witnessed it. His vertical leap gives the impression that he's 6-4 instead of the 6-1 he's listed in the Clemson media guide.

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Jadaveon Clowney may be the most heralded dreadhead in the Palmetto State, but Watkins actually lived up to the expectations. To be more accurate, he surpassed them. This summer, Watkins had been lapped by USC's Marqise Lee as the top draft-eligible receiver. Watkins went out there this season and reasserted his superiority by hauling in 101 passes for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns.

An Orange Bowl record and career-high of 16 catches for 227 yards including two touchdowns in what was likely his collegiate finale shattered Hopkins' single-season school records for reception yardage and made Clemson the first team from South Carolina to win a BCS bowl game. Wherever they wind up on the next level, the Boyd to Watkins connection will be an impossible one for Dabo Swinney to replace or replicate.