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Sammy Watkins’ spring performance brings optimism for 2013

Sammy Watkins, Robert Smith AP

Disappointing by Sammy Watkins‘ standards, that is. In all honesty, 708 yards receiving and a four total touchdowns — a modest four, sure — is nothing to scoff at, but those 2012 numbers didn’t come close to what Watkins pulled in as a freshman two years ago (1,219 yards receiving, 12 touchdowns).

There were reasons: Watkins spent the first two games on the sidelines because of an offseason drug arrest. He later missed a game because of an illness and missed all but one play of the Chick-fil-A bowl because of an injury.

But Watkins got back on track during Clemson’s spring game on Saturday. The junior caught seven passes for 156 yards and a pair of scores of 41 and 50 yards from quarterback Cole Stoudt, with Watkins doing most of the work on the 50-yard touchdown.

When asked what he has been working on for this year, Watkins said “Just doing things better, working hard for my releases and just going up for the ball. Those are things I’ve got to work on for next season.”

Watkins’ sophomore campaign was overshadowed by the gaudy numbers of DeAndre Hopkins, who had 1,405 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns. With Hopkins gone, 2013 is an opportunity for Watkins to get back to the All-American level he played to in 2011.

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