Watkins revamps his approach

CLEMSON - Sammy Watkins is taking every step possible to ensure that he has a repeat performance of his freshman season.

From taking care of his body away from the field to working harder while he's on it, there's plenty at stake for Watkins, who is entering what most believe will be his final season at Clemson.

As a freshman, Watkins set the world on fire with 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns in 13 games. He also rushed 32 times for 231 yards and racked up 826 kickoff return yards and a score.

If onlookers thought it looked easy for Watkins, that's because it kind of was. And it was soon that he thought that would be enough for him to get by for the next couple of seasons.

The approach would quickly catch up with him. Watkins called it a "natural reaction after having a great season."

"I still worked hard. I just approached the game different. I was nonchalant. I didn't talk too much. I still paid attention. I just thought it was easy," he said.

As a result of his stellar debut, Watkins saw things from opposing defenses in year two that he didn't see during year one.

"I don't think I was prepared for them to do that," he said. "I didn't prepare myself. It wasn't on anybody [else]. It wasn't on the coaches. It was on me.

"I just didn't prepare the way I should have. I didn't approach the game the way I did my freshman year."

That's no longer the case.

"I would say I'm working way harder [now]. I'm not nonchalant, laid back. I'm just working," he said. "Just trying to get the mentality, to work everyday, instead of not taking off one day, and just keep on working, getting better."

Now, Watkins is a little bit older, and a whole lot wiser.

Last year, he said, "I had a lot of things going on, just doing so much. Just frustrated, not really accepting greatness, not really shy, but I was just trying to hide from everything.

"This year, I'm welcoming adversity."

His coaches, teammates and fans alike hope that will result in good things for Clemson.

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