Last year, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins took a step back in the eyes of some evaluators. Maturity questions and missed time on the field knocked him down a peg after a brilliant freshman season, and if you went by the aggregate totals you'd see it was DeAndre Hopkins who was the greater force for the Tigers. Hopkins finished with 82 catches, Watkins 57. But the discrepancy is really just about Watkins missing time, and if you watch the tape of the games when both were on the field, Watkins was the more dangerous target, and I think defenses considered him to be as well. This year, he's looking like a realized form of the prospect we saw two years ago.
As always, scouting reports remain similar week to week, with updates on matchups. Asterisks denote juniors; two asterisks denote redshirt sophomores.
Jadeveon Clowney *
Truly a case where you have to watch the games and not just look at the sack totals. Clowney has great strength and quickness as well as strong hands to quickly shed blocks. He's not just an edge rusher looking to quickly turn the corner, as he beats average tackles both inside and outside, which prompts many double-teams. His quickness can get him in trouble with overpursuit, but that's a good problem to have.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 1 | PLAYER CARD
Teddy Bridgewater *
He's been extremely efficient, but he'll face some questions about the competition and whether he was truly challenged. But he dominates what he faces. He has great poise and increased polish. He moves his eyes quickly and often scans the whole field. When he sees a target, he has a quick release, plenty of arm strength and good ball placement. I really like how he calibrates his throws, not using too much arm when he doesn't need to.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 2 | PLAYER CARD
You can see growth in his game, and it's impossible to keep him blocked consistently. I also love his pursuit when the play runs away from him. A former fullback, he has a powerful lower half and has a long frame and reach. He had 13.5 sacks last season and could have left for the NFL, but if he's able to grow with another year of seasoning at the position, it's only going to make him a more attractive talent.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 3 | PLAYER CARD