CLEMSON, S.C. Clemson sophomore receiver Sammy Watkins has been suspended for the first two games of the 2012 season by Head Coach Dabo Swinney. The suspension is the result of his arrest this past May.
Watkins will miss the season opener against 25th ranked Auburn in Atlanta on September 1 and the home opener against Ball State on September 8. Watkins had 10 receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns in Clemson's 38-24 win over Auburn last year.
"I told Sammy this past May that there would be a high end (number of games) and a low end, and it would be up to him as to the length of his suspension," said Head Coach Dabo Swinney. "He has done everything we have asked and then some, so the two-game suspension is the low end. He just finished his responsibilities last week and I met with Bob Arial (Watkins's lawyer) today to make sure everything had been completed properly.
"The game of football, or a game of football will never be more important to me than teaching young people important life lessons. I have learned that many times something that seems to be the worst thing that can happen to you can become the best thing. I know Sammy will learn from this and use this to make a difference in other peoples lives. I look forward to having number-two back on the field soon."
Watkins is the preseason ACC Player of the Year and has been listed on many preseason All-America teams. He is also on the Watch list for the Hornung Award (top all-purpose player), the Maxwell Award and the Walter Camp Award, which go to the top player in college football.
"I accept this suspension," said Watkins. "I made a mistake and realized that when this first happened. One thing we learn in this program is that there are consequences for your actions. The entire summer has been a learning experience. I am ready to get past this and look forward to September 15 when I can return to game day in Death Valley."
Last year Watkins was a first-team AP All-American as an all-purpose player, the fourth true freshman in college football history to be a first-team AP All-American. He had 82 receptions for 1219 yards and 12 touchdowns. The yardage and touchdown figures were Clemson single season records. He also ranked fourth in the nation in all-purpose yards per game with 176.0. He was also named National Freshman of the Year by multiple services.