While most fans are thinking that the linebacking corps may be a little thin in 2003, a quiet storm is brewing in one of the most talented players on the Tigers' defense. Former Lake View star Anthony Waters is next up in our Countdown to Kickoff series!
Waters was an all-state selection and Class A Offensive Player-of-the-Year Lake View High School. He was also a WPDE Area Player-of-the-Year finalist and a Shrine Bowl starter at outside linebacker. He rushed for 1,382 yards and 23 touchdowns, and added 22 catches for 450 yards with four scores as a running back, and recorded 145 tackles, 15 of which were tackles for loss during his senior season for the Wild Gators. Anthony chose the Tigers over South Carolina, Maryland, and Georgia Tech. Waters was a redshirt during his freshman year at Clemson.
Waters has quietly emerged as one of the future stars of the Clemson defense. This season, he'll back up John Leake at the JACK linebacker position, but there's little doubt that he'll get in on his share of snaps before the end of 2003. The addition of David Blackwell as the Tigers' linebackers coach should only speed Waters' development.
Privately, the Clemson coaching staff has felt from day one that Anthony Waters has the most potential of any of the young linebackers on the team. He's worked hard in the weight room this offseason and is already at a very impressive 235 pounds. He's currently listed as a second team linebacker entering the start of fall practice.
"Anthony Waters is only a redshirt freshman, and he's about 6-3, 235 pounds and there really isn't anybody that works harder," notes senior linebacker John Leake. "He's been with me all summer long and he's been looking to me to answer questions and stuff like that. In my mind, he's a starter even though he's backing me up."
Waters culminated a strong spring by finishing with 6 tackles in the Orange & White game held at Riggs Field. That number was good enough for second most on the team.
Simply put, this could be a coming out party for Anthony Waters this year. In high school, he used his lethal 4.4 speed to rush for over 1,300 yards during his senior season. In college, he'll use that speed to track down running backs in the backfield. While John Leake certainly is going anywhere as the starting JACK linebacker, Waters will get his share of snaps this season and make his presence felt in a big way. He's one of the redshirt freshman we anticipate making the most noise in 2003.