Sammy Watkins (American football)

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Sammy Watkins
refer to caption
Watkins with the Buffalo Bills
No. 14 Buffalo Bills
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1993-06-14) June 14, 1993 (age 26)
Place of birth: Fort Myers, Florida
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 211 lb (96 kg)
Career information
High school: South Fort Myers (FL)
College: Clemson
NFL draft: 2014 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2015
Receptions: 125
Receiving yards: 2,029
Receiving touchdowns: 15
Player stats at

Sammy Watkins (born June 14, 1993) is an American football wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Bills fourth overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. He played college football at Clemson.

High school career

Watkins attended South Fort Myers High School in Fort Myers, Florida, where he was a letterman in football, basketball and track. He became the all-time leading receiver in the history of Lee County with 133 catches for 2,997 yards and 36 touchdowns during his career. In his junior and senior years, he was a first-team all-state selection. As a sophomore, he had 33 receptions for 537 yards and 10 scores. In his junior year, he added 46 catches for 1,192 yards and 14 touchdowns. As a senior, Watkins had eight 100-yard receiving games on the season, accumulating totals of 54 catches for 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns. He led an undefeated South Fort Myers team into the 3A state semifinals, where they lost 44–28 to a Duke Johnson-led Miami Norland team.[1] He played in the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Watkins also ran track & field for the Wolfpack, where he was one of the state's top performers in the sprinting events. As a junior, he finished fifth in the 100 meters and sixth in the 200 meters at the state meet. As a senior, he captured the AA state title in the 200 meters, with a PR of 21.11 seconds.[2] He also won the 100 meters at the 2011 Tarpon Invitational, recording a personal-best time of 10.45 seconds.[3]


Watkins was a highly touted recruit before the 2011 college football season.[4] Regarded as a five-star recruit by, he was rated the third-best wide receiver prospect in the nation, behind only George Farmer and Trey Metoyer.[5] He was ranked fifth best by[6] Recruited by dozens of schools, Watkins chose Clemson over offers from Florida, Florida State, Miami (FL), Michigan, and Tennessee.

College career

Watkins returns a kickoff during a 2013 game vs. the Maryland Terrapins.

Watkins committed to Clemson in November 2010.[7] He was also recruited by Florida State, Florida, and Miami but decided to go to a school outside Florida.[8]

Despite not taking part in spring practice, Watkins made an immediate impact for Clemson in his freshman season in 2011.[8] He caught 82 passes for 1219 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first collegial season, including 10 catches, 155 yards and two TDs against defending national champions Auburn.[9] He led the nation in reception yards per game, all-purpose yards and touchdowns.[10] He also broke 11 school freshman records seven games into the season, including total all-purpose yards previously held by C. J. Spiller.[10] He was an AP first-team All-American, becoming only the fourth ever true freshman to do so, joining Herschel Walker, Marshall Faulk and Adrian Peterson.[11] He was also named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America.[12]

As a sophomore in 2012 he had 57 receptions for 708 yards and three touchdowns. As a junior he had 101 receptions for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was the MVP of the 2014 Orange Bowl after setting an Orange Bowl record with 16 receptions for 227 yards.[13][14][15] He also set the school record for career receptions in the game finishing with 240.

In January 2014, Watkins announced that he would forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft.[16]

Professional career

2014 NFL Draft

Watkins was drafted by the Buffalo Bills as the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.[17] He was the first wide receiver selected by the Bills in the first round since Lee Evans in 2004.

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 0 3/4 in 211 lb 32 in 9⅝ in 4.43 s 1.54 s 2.52 s 4.34 s 6.95 s 34 in 10 ft 6 in 16 reps
All values from NFL Combine[18]

Buffalo Bills

2014 season

On May 28, 2014, Watkins signed his rookie contract, a fully guaranteed four-year deal worth $19.94 million, with a $12.8 million signing bonus.[19] He caught his first career touchdown reception from EJ Manuel in a Week 2 29-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins. In Week 7 vs. Minnesota Vikings, Watkins caught nine passes for 122 yards for two touchdowns. His second touchdown was the game winner coming with one second remaining in the game.

He finished his season setting a new team rookie record in both receptions (65) and receiving yards (982).[20] He also caught 6 touchdown passes.

2015 season

Watkins in 2015

Through the first five games of the 2015 season, Watkins (who played in only 3 of the games because of a calf injury) had just 7 catches for 99 yards. He voiced his frustration before game 6, saying "You came up to draft me and I’m not getting targets — that’s a problem. You’re making me look bad and you’re making yourself look bad. Why not make both of us look good?"[21]

On October 27, 2015, frustrated with his social media followers for leaving angry comments about him missing three games due to injury, Watkins took to his Instagram and lashed out at critical fans. In a comment which Watkins later deleted, he told the fans to "get a life and go to work" and "continue working y'all little jobs for the yest of y'all lives". This caused an uproar with many Bills fans.[22] Watkins then later posted another Instagram photo addressing the situation, saying his comments were "inappropriate" and acknowledged that a majority of the negative comments were from other fans and not Bills fans.[23]

Playing on an injured ankle that had kept him out of a Friday practice, Watkins had a career-high 168 receiving yards on eight catches with one touchdown in a week nine 33-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins.[24]

In his first seven games of the season, he caught only 25 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns, while only having one 100-yard receiving game. In his final six games, however, he had 679 receiving yards on 35 catches (19.4 yards per catch), six touchdowns, and four 100-yard receiving games. He also had at least 80 yards receiving in all six games. With his late season push, Watkins finished the season with 60 catches for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns receptions. He recorded five 100-yard receiving games and set his career-high in receiving yards and touchdowns. However, the Bills finished the season 8-8 and did not make the playoffs.

2016 Season

On May 16, 2016 it was reported that Watkins had broken a small bone in his foot. Watkins had a screw inserted in his foot, and the Buffalo Bills medical staff is hopeful he'll be ready for training camp.[25]

Career Statistics

Season Team G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FUM
2014 Buffalo Bills 16 16 65 982 15.1 84 6 1
2015 Buffalo Bills 13 13 60 1,047 17.5 63 9 0
Total 29 29 125 2,029 16.23 84 15 1

Personal life

In a pre-draft interview, Watkins said that his favorite football team, as a child, was the Buffalo Bills.[26] In May 2012, Watkins was arrested by Clemson campus police for possession of marijuana. He was also found to have one pill each of Vyvanse and Adderall and charged with possession of a controlled substance.[27] As a result, Watkins was suspended for the first two games of the 2012−2013 season.[28] Watkins completed pre-trial intervention and had the charge expunged from his record.[29]

His older brother, Jaylen Watkins, is a defensive back and plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. Both Sammy and Jaylen were selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, 97 picks apart. He has two daughters, Samiah and Azaria, with his girlfriend, Ta’La.[30]


  1. "Uncharacteristic mistakes doom South Fort Myers in state semis". Naples News. December 10, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Reynolds, Tim (February 2, 2011). "National Signing Day - ACC: Scott is 1st to send signed letter to Miami". The Brownsville Herald. Associated Press. Retrieved November 15, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Sammy Watkins". Retrieved November 15, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Hayes, Chris (November 23, 2010). "South Fort Myers WR Sammy Watkins commits to Clemson". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 15, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hass, Bill (September 22, 2011). "Bill Hass on the ACC: True Freshman Sammy Watkins Gives Clemson a Burst". Retrieved November 15, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Sammy Watkins". Retrieved November 15, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 Dinich, Heather (October 19, 2011). "Clemson's Sammy Watkins plays above age". Retrieved November 15, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Wine, Steven. "Clemson freshman receiver Sammy Watkins has West Virginia worried". The Associated Press. Salt Lake Tribuin.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "FWAA names 2011 Freshman All-America Team". FWAA. January 9, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins savors moment after being named Orange Bowl MVP
  14. Fort Myers' Watkins named MVP as Clemson prevails
  15. Clemson's Sammy Watkins has record night in Orange Bowl
  16. Tigers' Sammy Watkins going pro
  17. Bills grab Sammy Watkins after trading up to No. 4
  19. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills strike rookie deal
  20. Sammy Watkins sets Bills' rookie record
  21. Buffalo News
  22. Schwartz, Nick (October 28, 2015). "Sammy Watkins lashes out at critical fans on Instagram". Retrieved November 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Braziller, Zach (October 28, 2015). "Bills' Sammy Watkins blasts 'loser' fans doubting his health". Retrieved November 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Hanzus, Dan (November 8, 2015). "Sammy Watkins' career day turns around Bills' frustrating Sunday". Retrieved November 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Schwab,Frank (May 16, 2016). "Bills WR Sammy Watkins dealing with yet another injury". Retrieved May 17, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "Inside The Bills | Watkins embracing leadership role". Retrieved 2016-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links