Sammy Watkins wants punt return duties


Just in case you weren’t convinced before, Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins wants to make sure he’s known as an athlete, not just a wide receiver.

If the 826 yards and touchdown on kickoff returns as a true freshman last year weren’t enough evidence -- or 2,288 all-purpose yards -- this year Watkins is adding punt return duties to his responsibilities.

It’s something Watkins said the coaching staff approached him about last season, but he wasn’t too excited about. He only had two punt returns. This year, Watkins approached the staff about being the starting punt returner.

“I think it will help our offense, me being back there returning punts, and it could help the defense out with field position,” Watkins said. “I want to be more known as a great athlete not just at receiver, but as a kick returner and special teams, also. My coach talked to me about it last year, but I was a little shaky about it. I said, ‘Let me get used to it.’ I never really played it. This year, I said, ‘Coach, I want to take over the starting punt return job.’”

Watkins’ request was part of a bigger goal -- making Clemson’s special teams unit above average.

“That’s our biggest thing,” he said. “Nobody really was taking special teams seriously. This year I’ve been stressing, ‘Coach, we need to get somebody who wants to be on special teams, who wants to be on punt, who wants to block and take it serious.”

Looks like Clemson found at least one who wants to do it all.