I think it’s safe to say that after 7 games, Clemson player Sammy Watkins is the best freshman Wide Receiver in the ACC, and probably the country. If there’s a better one, I’d like to see him. Heck he might be the best freshman at any position in the country. He’s made that great of an impact, in helping Clemson to their best start in over a decade at 7-0. He just set a Clemson record for all-purpose yards in a game with 345 against Maryland this past Saturday. It might be time to start thinking of Watkins in a historical ACC perspective.
The only recent ACC player at the Wide Receiver position that I can think of approaches the impact Watkins has had as a freshman is Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson. You know the same Calvin Johnson that went 2nd in the NFL draft in 2007, and is arguably one of the one of 2-3 best Wide Receivers in the NFL. He also was the winner of the 2006 Biletnikoff award, given to the nation’s best college wide receiver. At 6-5 with 4.35 40 speed Johnson had physical gifts that WOWed college football fans the moment he stepped on the Georgia Tech campus
Now it’s impossible to draw current comparisons. Johnson is an All-Pro NFL wideout. Watkins is a college freshman, but when you look at Watkins now, and Johnson as a freshman (not now), who do think is better, who would your build team around all things equal? Remember Watkins has Tajh Boyd, a potential future Heisman candidate throwing to him and Johnson had the erratic Reggie Ball as his quarterback.
One thing I’ll say about both players. If the ball gets near them they are catching it. Both Watkins and Johnson have outstanding hands.