Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 9/19/12
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Clemson has plenty of playmakers on offense. But the Tigers have a once-in-a-lifetime talent in wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins caught 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2011. And ran for 231 yards. He rewrote Clemsons receiving record books. As a freshman. He might have been the most impactful freshman maybe since Herschel Walker, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said of the legendary University of Georgia running back. I may have stepped over somebody or forgotten somebody, and I dont mean that. But remember Herschel Walker won the national championship his freshman year (in 1980). Sammy kind of made that impact the day he came in, it seemed like to me. I cant think of a freshman that had that kind of impact like he did. Hes just a phenomenal player. FSU knew about Watkins, who grew up in Fort Myers and was considered one of the states top players in the class of 2011. Watkins received offers from FSU, Florida, Miami, Georgia, Tennessee, USC and West Virginia, but he opted for Clemson. And when he took the field last year against FSU, Watkins was impressive in grabbing seven passes for 141 yards including a 24-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter and then a 62-yard TD catch early in the fourth quarter that put Clemson up by 12 points and cemented the Tigers 35-30 win. FSU knew all about Watkins. But the Seminoles just couldnt stop him. Surprised me a little bit, FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops said this summer. You knew he was a fantastic player, but he was off the charts. Watkins was suspended for the first two games of this season, but he returned last week to grab four passes for 52 yards in a rout of Furman. And while all of the attention is often directed on Watkins, receiver DeAndre Hopkins was just 22 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season in 2011. And already Hopkins has accumulated 26 receptions for 319 yards and four touchdowns this year, too. FSU junior defensive back Xavier Rhodes was responsible for covering Hopkins last season, but this time he will likely alternate between Watkins and Hopkins. Sammy is all of it hes physical, hes fast, Rhodes said. Hopkins is fast, hes very shifty. Hes not as physical as Sammy. Thats the difference between the two. Watkins and Hopkins may be the best group of receivers on FSUs schedule in 2012 and are surely among the top receiving tandems in college football (alongside Southern Cals Marqise Lee and Robert Woods). But when it comes to facing good receivers, FSUs defensive backs feel they are as prepared as they can be by Saturday. I go against it every day with our receivers (in practice), Rhodes said. I go against it every day. It aint really nothing new to me. Rhodes isnt trying to turn one of the key matchups of the showdown between No. 4 FSU and No. 10 Clemson into a ho-hum thing. He just feels the challenge is the same each week for FSU. It doesnt matter which receiver he is defending, its important that he does his job, whether its Watkins or anyone else. I dont get excited, Rhodes said. Thats just going to bring pressure on me. I want less pressure. I just want to go in confident and play. While Rhodes is a junior and has big-game experience, FSUs other starting corner is sophomore Nick Waisome, who has done well but is starting just his fourth college game. He has been challenged before, but now faces something far different Saturday night. Rhodes said he believes that playing defensive back is about not second-guessing your talents because a loss in confidence means that the defensive back will lose. And Waisome agrees with that philosophy. Im going in there and I want him to have zero receptions, Waisome said. Thats just how I go about it. Obviously you are going to give up some, thats just part of the game. They definitely have great receivers, and I feel like we have great DBs. We are just going to have to go out there like a dogfight and come out on top.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Browns have discussed trading No. 12 pick for Garoppolo

Report: Lowry expected to miss 4-5 weeks, return for playoffs

Report: Cowboys to release Romo in coming weeks

Report: Jennings expected to sign with Hornets

Did Hield reveal Kings tampered with him before trade?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Nicklaus says Tiger's current situation is a 'puzzle to me'

Schroder still insists Isaiah Thomas insulted his family

Report: Cousins wants franchise tag to be used on him

Report: Jets likely to try and trade Sheldon Richardson

Knicks considering releasing Derrick Rose?

Report: Steelers, Brown making progress on extension

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker