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Clemson's Sammy Watkins should set ACC, team records

Clemson's Sammy Watkins is on track to set a few ACC and school receiving records this season.

Watkins (6-foot-1, 205 pounds), a junior whom coach Dabo Swinney expects to turn pro after the season, has 66 receptions for 982 yards and seven touchdowns through nine games this season. At his current pace, and assuming a 13-game season, which would entail Clemson getting to a bowl (that's a lock), Watkins would finish with 94 receptions for 1,418 yards and 10 touchdowns.

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The 94 receptions would be a single-season league record; the current mark is 88, set by former Clemson star Aaron Kelly in 2007. The yardage total would be a single-season school record; the current mark is 1,405, set by DeAndre Hopkins last season. It also would set an ACC record for most receiving yards by a junior; that mark belongs to Hopkins for last season's total.

Watkins also is well within reach of two other school records held by Hopkins: career receiving yards (Watkins is at 2,915, and the record is 3,020) and career TD receptions (Watkins is at 22, and the record is 27).

"I still think I've got a lot more in me," Watkins said this past Saturday after Clemson pounded Virginia. "Coaches push me every week, and I'm getting better every week with just blocking and being physical and making the catch they expect me to make."

Watkins has six 100-yard games this season, giving him a school-record 13 for his career.

"We always want to get the ball to No. 2," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Saturday. "We've been pretty consistent all year long getting him the ball. He's been very consistent. There's no question it's a major emphasis every week."

The website secondroundstats.com, which bills itself as "Analyzing the NFL Draft Through Statistics and Film Study," said Watkins has averaged 9.71 yards after the catch this season, including 10.1 yards after the catch on non-screens.

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"Most quality college wide receivers average 5.5 to 7 yards after the catch, depending on their offense," the website wrote. "[St. Louis Rams rookie] Tavon Austin was an extreme outlier with 8+ yards this past year."

Watkins and the Tigers are off this weekend, then play host to Georgia Tech on Nov. 14 before finishing up the regular season with games against South Carolina State on Nov. 23 (the Tigers' second FCS opponent of the season) and archrival South Carolina on Nov. 30.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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