Clean bill of health?

CLEMSON - Sammy Watkins wasn't his usual spectacular self after returning from shoulder injury against Wake Forest.

He managed to pull down just four catches for 39 yards and rushed twice for nine yards in Clemson's loss at South Carolina on Saturday.

"It was most definitely bothering me a lot," Watkins said earlier this week, when asked how much the shoulder ailed him in Columbia.

"I had to fight it. I just had to go out there and make plays and just try to get through it."

Playing through the pain wasn't easy.

"It was've just got to push through it, play through it," he said.

The good news is, that shoulder, according to Watkins, is no longer an issue.

"My shoulder is in good condition. I've just got to keep going to treatment," he said. "I'll be all right for the championship game. I just have to put everything out of my mind, go out and play and have fun."

On Tuesday, Watkins was named ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year. The freshman wide receiver was also picked to the All-ACC first-team a day earlier.

Although it took Watkins just a few practices in August to crack the starting lineup, he wasn't promised anything by Dabo Swinney during the recruiting process.

"They never said I was going to come in and start," Watkins said. "They said to come work hard, just do what you've been doing. Come in, work hard on and off the field, study your plays. That's what I did."

All accolades aside, his focus is elsewhere.

"It's a good accomplishment, but I still have an ACC Championship to fight for," Watkins said.

Quarterback Tajh Boyd, who's been on the other end of the majority of Watkins' 72 catches for 1,073 yards and 11 touchdowns, is happy to have him as an option.

"I don't know if there's any better freshman playing in the country," Boyd said.

Opposing teams have noticed, too

"They're keeping safeties over the top. They're playing a lot of deep coverage on me, stuff like that," Watkins said.

And you expect Virginia Tech to do the same thing again Saturday night in Charlotte, when the Tigers play for the ACC Championship Game. Top Stories