The Clemson Tigers topped the Ohio State Buckeyes 40-35 in the Orange Bowl, a thriller which was undoubtedly among the most entertaining games of the college postseason. It was a game characterized by explosive plays galore and superstars on both sides shining on the big stage. Perhaps no other player on either side outperformed Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, who delivered a dazzling individual performance in what essentially served as his final collegiate game. The junior Tigers wideout utilized his final opportunity to showcase his supreme abilities and to audition for the NFL Draft on one final occasion. And he could not have concluded his Clemson career in a more fitting fashion, as he racked up over 200 individual yards receiving and simply dominated the Buckeyes’ secondary. While his stock for the next level was never truly in question, Watkins’ bowl performance served to solidify his lofty standing sure to lead to a high top ten selection in the upcoming draft. Anyone still debating just where Watkins should be slotted needs solely to consider Clemson’s standing prior to his arrival compared with its standing enjoyed throughout the duration of his astonishing three-year career for Tigers.
The renowned and greatly acclaimed Clemson connection of QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins is undeniably one which supporters of the Tigers will look upon with favor for years to come. Prior to the previous three seasons headlined by the aforementioned dynamic duo, Clemson was notoriously regarded across the national landscape as an underachieving program which failed to advance to new levels of success. Guided by Boyd and Watkins, though, the Tigers enjoyed a triumphant three-year run in which the program broke down previously daunting barriers and ascended to a new level of national prominence which had previously so eluded it. The aforementioned three-year run was highlighted by a trio of double-digit win seasons, two BCS bowl appearances, and an ACC championship. Much of that tremendous success was primarily attributable to the supreme playmaking ability of Watkins, who consistently shined in big games and torched opponents on both offense as well as in the return game. He possesses all the attributes necessary to help him develop into one of the most dynamic young players – strong hands, strength, and speed.
Sammy Watkins concluded his tremendous Clemson career with a fitting bang, shredding the Buckeyes in a variety of fashions. It was a great performance which will undoubtedly serve to essentially etch his lofty NFL standing in stone. While fans and supporters of the Tigers are disappointed to see him depart, they should take solace in the fact that his excellent career has served to bolster the stature and reputation of the program for years to come.
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