Believe the hype

Stephone Anthony

CLEMSON - The preseason ballyhoo surrounding the 2011 signing class was met during Saturday's 43-19 win over Troy.

Twelve played, and their impact was felt the entire 60 minutes.

DeShawn Williams, one of the first few commitments to the class, spent half of his high school career as a Clemson commitment.

"To be honest, I never thought this day would come...now that it came, man, it's just a dream come true," he said. "I was like, wow. To wear the orange, to be a part of this team. It was great."

Williams registered a solo tackle and had one assist.

Defensively, the class of 2011 combined for 11 tackles, a sack and an interception.

Stephone Anthony, who had the sack, was in on two tackles.

The most memorable moment of his day came before kickoff -- the run down the hill.

"It was my first time," he said. "I enjoyed that. It was real fun."

Playing the middle linebacker position, Anthony has accepted the challenge of learning the ins and outs of Kevin Steele's defense.

The process has been no walk in the park.

"It's been intense," Anthony said. "It's a certain focus for it that you've got to have, and a will to learn the position. If you have the will to learn the position, you can do it and have fun with it."

Anthony enjoyed watching his classmates make plays on the offensive side of the ball.

The true freshmen combined for three rushes for 81 yards and a touchdown, nine catches for 142 yards and a touchdown and four returns for 70 yards.

Sammy Watkins may have had the biggest impact of them all. He caught seven passes for 81 yards and a score and returned a punt for 12 yards.

His first catch was a 33-yard scoring grab.

"It was a great feeling, just looking at the crowd. I thought it was a dream, but my dream came true," Watkins said.

While running down the hill, Watkins said he was "shaking".

"I put the butterflies behind me and just played after that," he said.

Mike Bellamy, who rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown, was happy to step on the field with his teammates for the first time.

"I was just ready to go out there and see how it is and enjoy the team," he said. "That's what it's all about -- the team, at the end of the day."
For one day, at least, it was all about the freshmen.

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