Freshman football players will often ask their older teammates why they redshirted.
Carlos Watkins is happy to explain, but he doesn’t need to say much. Clemson’s fifth-year senior defensive tackle can simply raise and curl his right arm, displaying a forearm that’s thicker than most men’s biceps, and show a dozen scars caused by shattered glass.
Those are the only physical reminders of a harrowing experience Watkins will never forget. The deep bruises on his legs have faded away, and his football attributes have returned. Watkins is one of four Tigers with three sacks this season.
Mentally, Watkins says it took a year and a half to fully come to grips with surviving the fatal car accident that took the life of his cousin. But it’s evident now that the wreck did not dampen Watkins’ desire to play football.