Beyond his years

COLLEGE Park, Md. - Sammy Watkins needed only seven games to do what took C.J. Spiller almost four years.

Watkins turned in a record-setting night as Clemson rolled to a 56-45 win over ACC Atlantic rival Maryland on Saturday night at Byrd Stadium.

He set the Clemson freshman receiving yardage record for a season with a 105-yard performance against Maryland, upping his season total to 728. The previous record, held by Derrick Hamilton in 2001, was 684.

With 345 return, rushing and receiving yards, the freshman from Fort Myers, Fla. also broke the school's single game all-purpose yardage record, previously held by C.J. Spiller, who set the mark at 312 against Florida State in 2009.

Dabo Swinney.

Watkins caught eight passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns, rushed once for 33 yards and returned five kickoffs for 173 yards and a score.

His touchdown catches went for 13 and 15 yards. The kick return was 89 yards.

No Clemson freshman had scored three touchdowns in a single game since 1990, when running back Ronald Williams had three against Appalachian State in 1990.

Tajh Boyd considers himself "blessed" to have a target like Watkins.

"He's beyond his years, as far as age goes," Boyd said. "We've got a guy out there, he's going to make some plays. You just have to put the ball in his hands. That's what we did."

Watkins' game marked the fourth-highest all-purpose performance in ACC history.

Humbly, he said the early success isn't a surprise.

"I've got a hard work ethic and great coaches I'm surrounded by that make me do the right things, keep me in place and tell me what to do," Watkins said. "I actually listen to them and buy into what they say. People I'm surrounded by, such as the players, receiving corps, offensive line, defensive players -- just great people."

And Sammy Watkins?

Well, he's a great player.

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