I don't think that there is any question who the top freshman offensive player and the top freshman defensive player are. It's not even close.
On offense, it is Clemson's phenom Sammy Watkins, who's a threat in every aspect of the offensive game. He can run, catch, and take back kicks. He can score pretty much at will.
On defense, it is South Carolina's destructive Jadeveon Clowney, whose 5.5 sacks and nation-leading five forced fumbles have shown his ability to change a game off of the bench.
So, No. 2 (Watkins) and No. 7 (Clowney) will take the field for the first of three matchups against potential (and probable) future first-round draft picks.
Watkins has been a force for the Clemson Tigers. He is possibly the sole reason the Tigers turned the preseason expectations on their heads. Most people assumed the worst, that the Tigers would be as bad as they were in 2010, which was by all accounts, pretty bad.
You need to look no further than the 37-13 drubbing the Tigers received at the hands of the 6-5 NC State Wolfpack this week to see Watkins' importance.
When he isn't in the game, the Tigers lose. Period.
The Gamecocks have their own game changer. Jadeveon Clowney has lived up to his tremendous hype, and he has done so off the bench. At times, he is almost unblockable. When he turns it on, he just destroys linemen, and he has been responsible for some of the the Gamecocks' biggest hits and game changing turnovers.
He has been lucky enough to get to learn and share time with two potential first-round draft picks at defensive end in the sensational Melvin Ingram, and the forgotten powerhouse Devin Taylor.
However, next year, expect some of the biggest numbers at defensive end ever from this kid.
These two are questionable for Saturday's showdown, and it would be a shame if they couldn't go. I for one, would love to see a Clowney on Watkins one-on-one situation on a sweep or something. Most people's money would be on Watkins winning that battle.
I see it differently.
It's great to be a Gamecock, especially this week!
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