And it didn't take long.
On Clemson's second play from scrimmage, Boyd hit Watkins outside for a completion. True to form, Watkins slid past defenders for a 12-yard pick-up, making it look easy. Two plays later, Boyd went to Watkins again; this time for a 19-yard completion.
The main goal for Watkins today was getting him comfortable again in a game setting.
"I got a couple of quick touches in order to get used to game speed," said Watkins. "We went out here and had fun. We didn't try to do a lot of big plays. It felt great, it felt easy and it felt comfortable."
It may have been his first game of the season, but Watkins didn't let emotions get the better of him.
"I wasn't happy or too excited; I just treated it just like last year. You get on the bus and run down the hill, and you are nervous. Once you get that first hit, you are fine.
"They were asking me what I wanted to run, and I just said- let the game come to me and let it flow."
On Clemson's second offensive possession, Watkins motioned around the right end for a 58-yard rushing touchdown. It was the first rushing score of his career.
"It was a great play, great blocking down field. I was patient on the run, and the timing was great," said Watkins. "It was a great feeling to run without even getting touched."
It was a great feeling for the offense to have the National Freshman of the Year back. Watkins served a two-game suspension for his actions over the summer.
"It was very hard practicing but not playing. I couldn't relate to the guys on the field," he said. It was a good lesson and made me hungry."
From the eyes watching in the stands, it may have seemed that Watkins was his old self, but the playmaker thought otherwise.
"I was rusty," he said. "I wasn't moving as fast, there were first-game jitters. I'm pretty sure against Florida State I can move pretty quick, though."
What did Watkins' coaches and fellow play-makersthink of his return?
"It was great. The fans were anticipating it. He went out there and did his thing. He had a great week of preparation." – Jaron Brown
"He brings another presence,just him alone is going to create some distractions." – Tajh Boyd
"It was good to have Sammy back. He showed up early. He's one of the most electric players in college football. The best thing for Watkins is he doesn't have the weight of the world on his shoulders. He's got playmakers around him." – Dabo Swinney
"He's a breath of fresh air. He had over 100 yards on 5 touches. There's a whole other level of explosion when he's out there."
"Sammy is a dual threat guy. You can't just play him in the passing game. I hoped to get him more touches. Sammy will get plenty of touches- you don't have to worry about that. What he did today, just the presence he brings, everybody's confidence picks up when Sammy's on the field." – Chad Morris
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