Catching up with Sammy's old coach

DAVIE, Fla. - Grant Redhead wasn't the only one who thought Sammy Watkins had all the makings of a great college football player.

Redhead, the only football coach in the seven-year history of South Fort Myers High School football, coached the ACC Rookie of the Year for four years at the prep level.

Still, he never could have imagined just how quickly Watkins would burst onto the stage at Clemson.

"We expected some good things from him, but we did not foresee what he has done this year. It has been short of amazing," Redhead told CUTigers on Friday morning. "That's a credit to him, because he's worked his butt off, made sure he learned and did everything they asked him to do."

Through 12 games this season, Watkins has 71 catches for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's also rushed 31 times for 229 yards and returned 26 kickoffs for 683 yards and a score.

"He always had that special ability, that wow factor," Redhead said. "Even when we were sitting there going through our games, I'd turn to a guy and say, ‘You're not going to see that again. That's special.' Things like that.

"He was very, very similar. He just carried over and took that next step, didn't miss a stride from what he did for us in high school to what he did for Clemson this year … it just looked natural to him."

Sammy Watkins goes through practice Friday in Davie, Fla. (Hale McGranahan)
Watkins now owns the Clemson single-season record for receiving yards and is tied for first in receiving touchdowns. He's second in all-purpose yards, third in receptions, third in receptions per game and third in kick return yards.

Unfortunately for Redhead, he was unable to see any of it in person.

"I can't wait to get up there and see a home game," he said. "It's a special place, fanatical up there. I'm looking forward to going up, hopefully next year."

Redhead, along with a large contingent from South Fort Myers, will be in Sun Life Stadium on Wednesday night to watch Watkins play. But their eyes won't only be on No. 2 for Clemson.

West Virginia starting cornerback Brodrick Jenkins also played at South Fort Myers.

"When Clemson's on offense, don't talk to me, because I get to see both my kids play," Redhead said. "Now, when Clemson goes on D and West Virginia is on offense, I don't have anybody on the field, so I can relax. It's going to be fun. We're really looking forward to it." Top Stories