Inside The Bills

Watkins adversary Hampton now a friend

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2014 – 12:33 pm

As we profiled on today, Clemson WR Sammy Watkins plays big and plays physical and is considered the top receiver talent in the draft. Every year he squared off against a pretty physical and talented cornerback in South Carolina’s Victor Hampton. The two were adversaries, but the pre-draft preparation process has forged a bond between them.

Watkins’ best performance against South Carolina came this past season when he had seven catches for 93 yards in a 31-17 loss.

“He got me on a post route,” said Hampton. “That was his one good catch on me this year.”

When asked how physical Watkins is as a receiver Hampton said the Clemson wideout is capable of doing so when necessary.

“He’s a guy where you have to be physical with him because he’s so fast that he’s not worried about really trying to get into you,” said Hampton. “He’s trying to get by you. But if he catches it he’ll give you a stiff arm or run through you as I’m sure you’ve all seen.”

Watkins has been described as a receiver that plays angry and will try to intimidate cornerbacks. Hampton never saw that personally.

“Yeah with me I think he respected me a little bit more,” Hampton said. “He knew I wasn’t going to back down. So he never really came at me in that type of way or try to bully me. Nobody is just going to bully me out there.”

Proof of that came in the other two matchups with Watkins as Hampton helped hold him to four catches for 37 yards in 2012 and four catches for 39 yards in 2011 as South Carolina has now beaten Clemson each of the past three years.

The former adversaries are now good friends as they wound up preparing for the draft and the Combine at the same athletic facility in Tampa, Florida.

“We had a great respect for each other on the field and we actually went to the same training facility and worked out together and became best friends and it’s been a great experience,” said Hampton.

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.

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