All of that early success was quite a surprise to the former five-star prospect.
"I didn't know we were going to be that good coming in, a first-year offense, a lot of guys' first year playing," he said.
It was a quick rise to the top for Watkins and the rest of his Clemson teammates.
Less than two months into the season, the Tigers and their high-powered, up-tempo offense were undefeated and rapidly moving up the polls.
"After those first those first six games, I'm like, ‘OK. We're good.' We lost our composure thinking we were too good and could beat anybody," he said. "We got into the hype, even me. I got kind of complacent [and] just thinking I can't be stopped."
Then, Georgia Tech happened.
That's when it hit him: it's not always going to be this easy.
"We're just trying to finish," Watkins said. "Finish through the fourth quarter. Every day we just work on finishing. Finish our block, finish the catch, finish our hits and everything like that."
He's turned the page, both good and bad, and looks forward to what year No. 2 has in store.
"I just put the last year [in the past]," Watkins said. "Whatever happened last year, that doesn't matter. It was great winning a championship, but we've got to do the same thing this year.
"We've got to be consistent. I've got to be consistent as a person, put in work on the field and off the field. I've got to keep playing hard and do the same things I did last year, but better."
But there are a few "little things" that the AP All-American would like to improve upon in his second season.
"Playing my position, you've got to carry good fakes. Last year, I did poorly with that. That's something that I write down," he said. "Every day, I try to be better without the ball, running my routes, blocking -- just doing all the little things with more passion."
The phrase ‘sophomore slump' isn't in his vocabulary.
"I don't believe in a sophomore slump because I'm working way harder than I was last year," he said. "We've got the same team; do the same thing, the same schemes. I'm just going to go out there and play."
Watkins, of course, will have to wait two games before he can step on the field. He'll miss the Auburn and Ball State games because of an offseason arrest.
"I think it's a great decision for me and the program to put me out for two games. I'm fine with the punishment," he said.
Plenty of work left to do
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